Jerry Styne Phillips departed from this earthly garden on May 1, 2019, he followed Patsy; the love of his life who departed three months prior. He was born August 23, 1938 to Willie “Bill” and Sarah Fredonia “Dona” Phillips, in the small farming community of Antioch, Hopkins County, Texas. His earliest memory was standing up in the crib and watching his folks pick cotton.
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Jerry and his wife Patsy were married 58 years, living the past 42 in Athens. His immediate family survivors include, son Jason and daughter-in-law Elizabeth, daughter Phillicia and son-in-law Layne, two granddaughters, two great grandchildren, a sister-in-law Tillie, 10 nieces and nephews. He leaves behind a huge extended family including, lifelong friends from school, students and fellow educators, and many folks, including fishing and dancing cohorts whom he befriended throughout the years.
Jerry was first and foremost a loving husband and father. Jerry and Patsy, introduced February of 1960, were married in May of the same year. They eloped, crossed the border to Piedras Negras, Coah. Mexico, and thus began a beautiful and enduring love story (that they said would never last). Jerry and Patsy shared a passion for the outdoors including a love of nature, country rides and fishing. He enjoyed country western music, telling stories, and dancing with his only partner. He was a loving gentle man and a consummate communicator.
He treasured humanity and the nature that envelopes us. Jerry had particular interest in American cultures, with strong focus in Native Americans of the Southeast and West. As a creative person he practiced the Native American crafting and over the the years he became friends with several accomplished Native American Artists. He communed with nature every day, whether by digging in the dirt, researching flora and fauna, or his favorite by far, watching the birds while sitting on the patio with Patsy.
Jerry attended Trinity University, Southwest Texas Regional, and East Texas State University, he received 4 degrees culminating in a doctoral degree in Theatre Education. Most of his 60-year teaching career was spent at Trinity Valley Community College from where he retired in 2004. He and Patsy enjoyed many wonderful years before, but had extra fun after retirement. They shared a truly remarkable life together.
He was an active community member and often made contributions to the Athens Daily Review Mail Call and Op-ed columns. He was a strong proponent of minority rights and respected people regardless of background. He demonstrated strength and un-wavering commitment throughout his life.
Jerry was a strong and loyal man who will be missed by his many friends and loving family.
A visitation will be held Saturday, May 18, at 2:00 PM at Hannigan Smith Funeral Home, in Athens, Texas with a memorial service beginning at 2:45 PM.
Funeral services were entrusted to the Hannigan Smith Funeral Home family.