James Leroy Phillips, age 69 years formerly of Niles, Michigan died peacefully at 7:08 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, 2019 with his family gathered around at Infinity Hospice Care in Las Vegas, Nevada following a brief illness.
He was born on December 5, 1949 in Niles to John L. and Evelyn J. (Woltman) Phillips. He was graduated in 1968 from Niles High School and a year later was inducted into the United States Army. After boot camp, he served the balance of his tour overseas, and was Honorably Discharged as a Veteran of the Vietnam Era. He returned to Niles where he was employed at the former Niles plant of Simplicity Pattern Company. He was later employed at Lakeland Medical Center in Saint Joseph, Michigan, and finally as a ranger at Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Jim was a long-time member of the Pokagon (Township, Michigan) Volunteer Fire Department, rising through the ranks to Captain. He also served with the Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service – SMCAS – completing college courses for the necessary certifications. He enjoyed traveling in his R.V., especially through Florida, Nevada, and Utah and hunting and fishing, usually at Irons, Michigan and Drummond Island, Michigan.
While Jim loved his dogs, Baily and Shadow, his greatest interest was helping people, which was reflected in his efforts with the fire department, the ambulance service, and as a park ranger. His joy was the success of others, especially his family.
He was first married to the former Sandra Wait, and later married to the former Pamela Fredrickson who preceded him in death on February 17, 2014. He was also preceded in death by his parents, and by his siblings, Greg Phillips, Susie VanDenBurg, and a two year old sister, Sandy Phillips.
Jim is survived by his daughter, Molica (& John) Syson of Niles; grandsons Kyle Kelley of California and Recruit Dylan Syson, U. S. Army. Jim reconnected with his long-time companion, Cindy Alexander of Boulder City where they lived-out his last years; and he is also survived by his brothers Scott Phillips and Rick Phillips of Niles and John Phillips of South Bend, Indiana; and many nieces and nephews.
The family of James Phillips will receive relatives and friends on Sunday, May 19, 2019 beginning at 2:00 p.m. at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles. A sharing of memories will begin at 3:00 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home, and will be led by Jim’s grandson, Kyle Kelley. The sharing will conclude with Full Military Honors by the United States Army Honor Guard and American Legion Post #51 of Buchanan, Michigan.
Contributions in memory of Jim Phillips may be made to the Pokagon Volunteer Fire Department, 31555 Pokagon Highway, Niles, Michigan, 49120
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Pokagon Volunteer Fire Department
31555 Pokagon Highway, Niles MI 49120