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Tribute to M. R. Phillips

1908 - 1995

religion, articles, christianity

Early Tuesday morning, June 20, 1995, M.R. Phillips made the transition from this life to a better one with his maker. It was time for his departure. He had fought the good fight as a gospel preacher for more than 50 years and he was looking forward to the crown of righteousness which the Lord will award to his faithful servants.

Brother Phillips was born on Dec. 5, 1908, to Ealy Daniel and Willie Sarah Phillips in Spicewood, Texas. He had served 10 congregations in Texas on a local basis beginning as a young man in Falfurrias. Brother Phillips also held numerous gospel meetings for churches in the southwest and California. While working with the Central Church of Christ in Victoria, Texas, the church held a gospel meeting that lasted for one year. During that year of nightly evangelism the congregation more than doubled in size. He was instrumental in encouraging a number of men to become gospel preachers. Two of those men conducted his memorial service, L.R. Sparks of Stamps, Ark., and his son-in-law Jerry Don Sanders of Lake Victor, Texas.

Brother Phillips authored a number of tracts and publications which were sent to some African nations to help in the evangelization of the people. He also worked with the Rio Grande Valley Youth Camp and served on numerous boards of Christian colleges and children's homes. Much of his library holdings were donated to Lubbock Christian University and more than 100 hand painted chart sermons were donated to the church of Christ in Stamps, Ark., so that his life will continue to speak, though he is dead.

Brother Phillips is survived by his wife of ten years, Mary Lee Havenhill Phillips; stepdaughter, Marilyn, and her husband F.J. Krane of Arlington, Texas; two sons and daughters-in-law, Sammy D. and Nan Phillips of Longview, Texas, and Bill F. and Thelma Phillips of Lubbock, Texas; two daughters, Dixie Phillips and Helen Sanders and her husband, Jerry Don, of Bertram, Texas; two sisters and brothers-in-law, Iris and A.W. Lewis and Nella and Earl Dodgen of Burnet, Texas; eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife of 49 years, Essie Merle Phillips and sister, Ima Lee Kuykendall.

The large gathering for the memorial service in the Burnet Church of Christ auditorium were reminded by the children that we do not "grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope" but we believe the "Lord will come down from heaven ... and the dead in Christ will rise first." Brother Phillips is now at "rest from his labors, and they do follow him."

Published September 1995