- BORN: November 26, 1917
- DIED: December 25, 2014
- LOCATION: Fairfax, Virginia
Native Roystonian Brig. Gen. Eugene Phillips, U.S. Army Ret., 97, died Thursday, December 25th following a brief illness at the home of his son in Fairfax, VA.
Gen. Phillips was born in Canon, GA on Nov. 26th, 1917, son of the late M.D. and MinniePhillips. He grew up in Franklin County and graduated from Royston High School as class valedictorian in 1935. He entered the University of Georgia in the fall of 1935 and graduated in 1939 with a bachelor's degree in Journalism and was commissioned as a second lieutenant, Cavalry, U.S. Army.
Prior to volunteering for active duty in World War II, he worked for the Atlanta Journal and other newspapers. It was during this time that he was introduced to Nadine Barnts of Springfield, MO. They were married on December 29th, 1941 at Fort Lewis, Washington, and celebrated 64 wedding anniversaries before Mrs. Phillips died in Royston in 2006.
In addition to 18 months combat with the Third Infantry Division in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Europe, he served on the staffs of Generals Eisenhower, Patton and Bradley. He graduated from the Cavalry School, Armor Officer Advanced Course, Command and General Staff College, and the National War College.
Following World War II he served as an information officer at the Nuremburg War Crimes trials. After a stint with the State Department in Burma, Gen. Phillips joined the staff of the Milwaukee Journal and later worked for the Associated Press before serving again on active duty. He served in a variety of assignments and capped his career when he was promoted to brigadier general in 1968, serving the Office of the Chief of Information for the Army. He retired after a 34-year career in 1973. His awards include the Legion of Merit and the French Croix de Guerre. In all, he traveled to some 30 countries.
In his civilian career, Gen. Phillips served on the public relations staff of Delta Air Lines and as director of the Washington, D.C., office of Aerospace Corporation before opening his own firm as a consultant.
After retiring from his consulting practice, Gen. Phillips and his wife returned to Royston in 1983, where he became involved in a number of civic and community activities and served as Royston's first city manager from 1990-1992. He was a member of many organizations, such as Rotary, the local chamber of commerce, American Legion, Reserve Officers Association, Military Order of World Wars, and the Public Relations Society of America.
Gen. Phillips is survived by his only child, Thomas E.B. Phillips, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve and his wife Monica Lombard Phillips, of Fairfax, VA; and three grandchildren, Jonathan E. Phillips, Ph.D., of Baltimore, MD, Drew B. Phillips of Venice, CA, and Alli M. Phillips of Washington, D.C.