Born in Walt Hill, Nebraska to Leone and Guy Phillips, John lived 82 years healthy, happy and engaged in the present. It was only the last 10 months he ever had any health issues. John fought lymphoma with dignity and intention every step of the way. He always looked at the bright side of life even during treatments. He was full of gratitude and had a smile for everyone around him.
John was preceded in death by his parents, brother Gerald Phillips, infant son William Phillips and wife of 49 years, Barbara A. Phillips. He is survived by son John Phillips Jr. (Deborah), daughter Kelli Stevens (Robert), son Casey Phillips, five grandchildren, two great grandchildren and companion Cora Raz and family.
John grew up in Nebraska and as a teen in Long Beach, California where he met the love of his life in High School. He served in the Korean War from 1952-1955. John moved to Modesto in 1970, where he started Phillips General Construction and Phillips Electrical and Plumbing service. He held four different licenses in construction. Both of his sons joined in the family business for a time and it is now carried on by his eldest son as J & M Electrical and Plumbing.
John moved to Turlock in 2006 to be near his son and daughter after the passing of his wife Barbara.
John was not afraid of hard work, actually thriving on it. Building shopping centers, car washes, various commercial businesses and residential work to name a few. The favorite project was the family houseboat “The H2O Chateau”, which was built out in his pasture in 1979, with everyone helping. It was a source of great joy year round, residing at Lake Don Pedro to this day.
John enjoyed camping, fishing, hunting, traveling in his motor home, reading, building, but especially spending time with family and friends (as much as possible) on the houseboat.
He was a member of Ducks Unlimited and various building associations. He was happiest ‘doing and creating’ — idle time was for reading, football and conversation, and he had a healthy balance of these.
John loved to discuss world events and was not afraid to express his opinion, at the same time listening fully with an open mind.
John lived his life with integrity, compassion and respect for others. He was a wonderful role model for his children and grandchildren, showing support and encouragement continually, for which they are very grateful. He was full of love and light and always said “say thank you, say you’re sorry, give people the benefit of the doubt and smile at all those who cross your path” and he did just that. His laughter and wisdom, friendship and love will be deeply missed. He was ‘our hero’.
“Life is good when there is a fish on the line!”
Private services will be held.
Remembrances can be made to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or New Beginnings for Merced County Animals. Please share your memories and condolences www.AllenMortuary.com