John Lee Phillips, 82, died March 11, 2015, in St. George, Utah. He was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, on August 7, 1932, to Milton Martin and Margaret Hayes Phillips.
John was educated in the Evanston, Wyoming, city schools. He attended the University of Wyoming and later transferred to Utah State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the School of Business. While at Utah State he met and married Rita Schiffman, on July 3, 1953, in Logan, Utah. They were later sealed in the Salt Lake Temple.
Following graduation from Utah State University, he entered the Air Force. During his Air Force career he was appointed an officer and obtained a master’s degree in Industrial Management from the Air Force Institute of Technology.
John was a superb and competitive athlete. As a young man in high school, he played baseball on an adult American Legion Team. He was a pitcher and also an outfielder. Throughout high school and in college he excelled in football, basketball, baseball and swimming. While at Utah State, John was an active member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity, with a scholarship in baseball and swimming.
In his church callings, he started out as a Sunday school teacher, as well as a volunteer janitor for the church building and grounds. Later, as he moved throughout the United States and overseas, he served in numerous church callings. John served as the sunday school president, elder’s quorum president, ward clerk, executive secretary, and 2nd counselor to the bishop in upstate New York. He served faithfully as a home teacher.
John was an honorable veteran to his country and served proudly as an officer in the United States Air Force for 20 years. As an officer in the Air Force, he held many leadership positions. He was selected to a unique position in Bruxelles, Belgium to negotiate research and development contracts and grants with the top scientists in all free countries in Europe and the Near East.
Later, he was assigned to Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in California, and subsequently assigned to Headquarters, Research and Development Command, Inspector General’s Office to inspect and monitor Air Force Missiles and Space Programs.
During the Korean and Vietnam Wars, John volunteered twice for duty in Southeast Asia as a commander and staff officer. He was commander for all Southeast Asia jet aircraft F-4’s (maintenance) for the military services in the Vietnam War. Also, he was selected for major assignments in Thailand and Taiwan. Later he was assigned to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
His military decorations include the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Clusters, the Meritorious Service medal with Oak Leaf Clusters, the Senior Missileman Badge, Air Force Commendation medals with Oak Leaf Clusters, Vietnam Service medal and the Republic of Vietnam Service medal.
Following John’s retirement from the Air Force, he accepted a job with Aerojet Propulsion Company in California as Manager of Weapons Systems. He later worked for the Ralph M. Parsons Company as Manager of Infrastructures at various locations in Saudi Arabia, Washington D.C., New York, and California.
After retirement, he served in the local community and volunteered over 500 hours serving high school students and the Airport Museum.
He is survived by his three daughters, Shauna Marley (Bill), Stacey Willardson (Bruce) and Cynthia Barney (Jed); eight grandchildren, Kaisie Alba (Jason), Chase (Shannon), Taylor (Katy) and Cole Willardson, Zachary, Dylan, Kelsey, and Landon Barney and six great-grandchildren, Samantha, William, Taylor, Kimberly, Daniel Alba, and Jack Willardson.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Rita, his parents and his sister, Anita Pfisterer.
- Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 21, at 11 a.m. in the Allen Mortuary of Logan, 420 East 1800 North, North Logan, Utah.
- A viewing will be held Saturday, from 10-10:45 a.m. prior to services.
- Interment will take place in the Logan City Cemetery.
Arrangements have been made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 435-673-2454. Friends and family are invited to sign John’s online guestbook at the Spilsbury Mortuary website.