Rev. Bobby E. Phillips was born on September 23, 1934 in Evergreen, NC, the ninth child of the late Giles W. and Flossie Durant Phillips. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his siblings; Dorothy P. Lefkofsky, Eugene Phillips, Wilma P. Hilburn, Durant Phillips, Ruth P. Bocco, Wallace J. Phillips, Josephine Phillips, Daniel A. Phillips and Jimmy Phillips.
Bobby was a 1952 graduate of Whiteville High School, and he continued to maintain relationships with his beloved classmates even until his final years. He attended Appalachian State Teachers College (now Appalachian State University) for two years after his high school graduation. In the summer of 1954, he was led to a personal, saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by Sara E. Sledge, and this encounter changed the trajectory of his life. He then enrolled at Columbia Bible College (now Columbia International University), earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1957. He served there as Assistant Dean of Men from 1959 until 1961. During his time there, he met and married his wife.
He was a devoted husband to his wife, Mary Ruth Ball, for almost 60 years, and was the loving father of two daughters, Joanna L. Phillips of Whiteville, NC and Amy P. Hicks of Kannapolis, NC. He was also, in his words, the proud grandfather of Daniel H. Hicks of Charlotte, NC and Tricia H. Hicks of Kannapolis, NC.
He was a Christian minister, serving churches in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Ordained in 1961, he served with the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination for thirty-six years, including serving on the Licensing and Ordaining Committee where he guided and mentored young pastors.
During his pastorate at the Missionary Alliance Church of Whiteville, he led in the founding of Columbus Christian Academy, serving as principal from 1977 to 1986. Beginning in 1965, he served Ambassador Camp in various key roles including co-director, board member, and speaker, where he was lovingly known to campers and staff as Uncle Bobby.
Even after his retirement and return to Whiteville in 2003, he still found ways to continue to serve, whether it was leading a prayer meeting, teaching Sunday school virtually, or baking someone a cake for their birthday. He was always available to those around him, praying daily for others, with a wisdom and strength that came from God and from years of reading God’s word daily.
He is remembered however, not just for his many achievements, but for being a godly man of integrity, whose life was poured out for Jesus by serving people practically and faithfully. He had the generous heart of a pastor that reached beyond the pulpit. Many have shared how intertwined his life was with their own, and his impact and influence was woven through generations of families. He is already missed by all who loved him and by all who were blessed to be loved by him.
A graveside service will be held Thursday, February 4, 2021, at 2 pm, officiated by Rev. Scott Crabtree, Rev. Ray Yow, and Rev. David Kelly and held at Powell Cemetery in Fair Bluff, NC. Due to COVID-19, the family requests that all who attend wear masks and practice social distancing.
In lieu of flowers, any memorial gifts may be made to the Whiteville Missionary Alliance Church, P. O. Box 1100, Whiteville, NC 28472, or to Ambassador Camp, P. O. Box 200, Lake Waccamaw, NC 28450.
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