Clifford Edward Phillips, 93, died Friday morning, June 20, 2014, at Solterra Senior Living in Lakeside from complications incident to his age. He was born Oct. 18, 1920, in Point Cedar, Ark., to the late William James and Gathy (McDaniel) Phillips.
While still a young boy, Clifford’s father died, which required him to go to work and help support his family. He learned, at that tender age, the value of hard work and that work ethic served him and blessed him throughout his long life. As a young man, Clifford enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II. Shortly after enlisting, he met his forever sweetheart, Lida Mae Hawkins. The couple were married in 1942 in Uvalde, Texas. After they were married, he was immediately deployed to France and Germany during the height of World War II. Following his honorable discharge from the military, he and his wife, Lida, settled in the small mining town of Bisbee, Ariz., where he began a long successful career working with Phelps Dodge. The Phillips family later moved to Douglas, where they lived many wonderful and happy years.
In 1960, his life forever changed when his wife, Lida, died at the age of 33. He missed her terribly, yet was so thankful for the three children they were able to have. Following his retirement from Phelps Dodge, Clifford moved to the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona, where he lived the rest of his life. He loved living there and, never one to be idle, he began working for Navapache Regional Medical Center in Show Low for many years. He finally retired permanently after 12 years of dedicated service.
Also, throughout his adult life, Clifford was very involved with Little League. While still living in Douglas, he ran the Little League program there for several decades. He coached and umpired for countless games and teams. He also cared for the baseball fields and was the one who lined the fields with chalk. He continued with his passion for Little League when he moved to the White Mountains and coached several teams in Lakeside. He just loved to watch those boys play baseball and watch how they improved from year to year. He was proud of each and every one of the Little League baseball players. Clifford also had other things he loved to do. He was an avid fisherman and enjoyed fishing at any one of his favorite fishing holes. He was a gifted guitar player and enjoyed singing songs with his family, especially the old Gospel hymns. He was blessed with a “green thumb” and could grow just about anything in his gardens. Many will miss the harvest reap of his tomatoes. No matter what the task was at hand, Clifford could frequently be heard whistling while he worked. His family loved to hear him whistle and they truly will miss his tunes.
Clifford possessed a special sense of community. He was a lifelong member of the Elks Lodge in Douglas and Show Low. He enjoyed participating in the countless service projects that the Elks performed for their communities.
Clifford is survived by his three children: Dr. Hollis Edward (Sandie) Phillips of Phoenix, Judy (Gary) Horner of Show Low, Carolyn Ann Rucker of Magnolia, Texas; sister Faye (Hap) Young of Yuma; six grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.
Along with his parents and wife, Clifford was preceded in death by a son-in-law, Don Rucker in 2013; granddaughter Tracy Ann Larned in 1985 and grandson Troy Wayne Rucker in 2009.
A graveside service for Clifford will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 28, at the Calvary Cemetery in Douglas, where he will be laid to rest alongside his sweet wife, Lida.
Memorial contributions, in his name, to the T.W.R. Memorial Fund, 3440 Riley Fuzzel Road, Spring, Texas 77386, have been suggested by his family. This fund is a special fund that was formed, in memory of his grandson, to help those who have been killed in motorcycle accidents.
Owens Livingston Mortuary - White Mountain Chapel of Show Low handled arrangements. Those who have special memories and would like to send private condolences or sign an online guest book are invited to visit www.owenslivingstonmortuary.com.