Mr. Rudolph Phillips was the second of nine children born to Clarence Phillips and Elnora (Williams) Phillips. He was born on April 21, 1926 in Matador, Texas. Rudolph was only five years old when he, his parents and four siblings moved to East Texas. He united with the Powell Chapel Baptist Church at an early age and maintained his membership there throughout his life.
He attended schools in the Jackson School District before transferring to the Winona school district where he graduated. After graduation, he enlisted in the U. S. Navy (1944) and was honorably discharged in 1946. He subsequently earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Bishop College and a Masters Degree from Texas College. Mr. Phillips did post-graduate work at Prairie View A. & M. College in Hempstead, TX, and at the San Fernando Valley State College in Northridge, CA.
In December 5, 1948, he married his childhood sweetheart, Odie Mae Flowers. To this union two children were born: Gloria Jean and Sandra Marie. Mr. and Mrs. Phillips adopted another daughter, Brenda Joyce Mabry.(Both Mrs. Odie Phillips and Ms. Sandra Brewster preceded Mr. Phillips in death.)
Although Mr. Phillips taught in the Winona ISD for one year, the bulk of his work in education was spent in the Gladewater ISD from 1950-1989.He was a tireless and dedicated educator who wore many hats, serving as a bus driver, teacher, Assistant Principal, and Principal.Many of his former students and colleagues remember “Professor Phillips” as a kind, humble, personable leader who demonstrated his Christian faith by the manner in which he lived his life.He was a hard worker who credited his strong work ethic to his upbringing. “Child, you couldn’t live in Daddy’s house unless you worked!” he stated on many occasions.
After retiring from his job as an educator, Mr. Phillips was able to devote more time to his deep passion for working in the Waters Bluff community. He served for many, many years as Precinct Chairman and devoted much time and effort to the Gladewater Public Library Board. He was one of the founding members of the Star Mountain Water Supply Corporation and faithfully served from 1968-2008.He served as secretary treasure of the Waters Bluff Cemetery Association and was a 4-H Leader for fifteen years.In 2006, Mr. Phillips was cited for his faithful work given to the Powell Chapel Baptist Church for 60 years.During that time he served as Church Secretary, Adult Sunday School Teacher, Deacon, and Church Treasurer.
Mr. Phillips departed this life on Monday, September 24th at 10:53 a.m. in Tyler, Texas.
He leaves to cherish his memory, daughter Gloria Stephens (Dennis Stephens) of Denton, TX.Grandchildren: Denise Stephens (Roanoke, TX); Janae Stephens (Roanoke, TX);daughter Brenda Jenkins (Curtis Jenkins) of Richardson, TX. Grandchildren Sean Jenkins (Richardson, TX); Cameron Jenkins (Crystalyn,) of Richardson, TX. Great-Grandson Caleb Jenkins of Richardson, Tx. Six Siblings: Sandford Phillips (Vernell), Pearl Holmes (Robert), Dorothy Sharpe (Charles, deceased), Joyce Williams (Welton), Irene Cooper, William Phillips (Florene). Two of his siblings preceded him in death: Telaska Arps (Winford) and Edward Phillips.
Mr. Rudolph, the proud Patriarch of his family, leaves a host of other nephews, nieces, relatives, and friends.He will be sorely missed by his devoted caregivers – Ms. Pearl Garrett and Mr. James Braxton.
The family wishes to acknowledge the kind and compassionate staffs of the Waterton of Shiloh and Legacy Hospice.
Homegoing Celebration will be held on Friday, September 28th, 2012 at twelve noon at New Zion Baptist Church, Winona, Texas, Rev. S. L. Curry Officiating, Rev. Jesse McLendon, Eulogist.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Rudolph and Odie Phillips Scholarship Fund at Austen Bank; Big Sandy, Texas.
Services under the direction of John R. Harmon Undertaking Company; 1112 N. Palace Ave., Tyler,TX 75702 903-533-8341.