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Robert Leslie Phillips

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“So sorry for your loss. I have such fond memories growing up across the street and spending so much time at your house. Your Dad was a very special...Read More ยป
1 of 1 | Posted by: Barbara Stone Kibler


Robert Leslie Phillips, YNCM, US Navy, Retired, passed away peacefully at his home, in the company of family members, on November 25, 2011.

Born in Freeport, IL on August 2, 1921, Bob was the son of the late Frank & Bessie Phillips. His family moved to Texas in 1929, and he grew up in Raymondville, TX, graduating from Raymondville High School in May, 1938. Bob joined the Navy in September, 1938. He went through boot camp in San Diego, then served on board the destroyer, USS Clark, from Dec. of 1938 until April of 1942. The Clark was in Pearl Harbor in Oct. of 1941, but had returned to Mare Island, San Francisco to get new radar, and was there when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Afterwards, they escorted the first convoy from the U.S. to Pearl Harbor. In Jan. of 1942, the Clark was sent to Samoa, then to the Solomon Islands. They were scheduled to attack Guadalcanal, but the day before, the task force was attacked by bombers. The Clark brought down a plane that was attempting to crash into the aircraft carrier Yorktown. Afterwards, they were headed to New Guinea when they rescued the crew from a scout plane that was lost.

After being hospitalized for awhile with bronchitis, Bob was assigned to an air squadron in Key West. From there he went to Trinidad, then to Puerto Rico in Jan. of 1943. In March he was sent to Yeoman school in Newport, RI, then went to New York City in July for transfer to an amphibious base in Roseneath, Scotland, where crews were being trained for the Normandy Invasion. There were a great number of Navy ships in Gareloch, 20 miles north of Glasgow.
In Sept. of 1943, Bob met Sheila Jean Kean, who would become the love of his life. They became engaged in Dec. and were married by the Navy Chaplain on July 22, 1944 in St. Mary's church, Glasgow, Scotland. Their honeymoon consisted of a brief boat trip on Loch Lomond. In April of 1945, Bob & Sheila left for the US on board an Army transport ship as part of a convoy that took 2 weeks to reach New York. From there, Bob was assigned to the 8th Naval District in New Orleans, where they were on VE day. In May of 1946, Bob was sent to Ashland, KY to serve as a guard during the coal miners' strike.

Later in 1946, Bob was transferred to Navy HQ in London, England, accompanied by his wife and infant son. In 1947, Bob & Sheila attended a big party hosted by the American Ambassador, where they met Ingrid Bergman and Peter Lawford. In 1949, Bob was transferred to the Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, IL, accompanied by his family, which had grown to four, with the addition of a baby girl. After three years at Great Lakes, Bob and his family were sent to the Joint Military Mission for Aid to Turkey, in Ankara, Turkey. While there, the Phillips household was one of a few who were chosen by the military to have a movie projector lent to them for the showing of movies in their home. All military families nearby were invited to view double features which were shown three or four times a week. During the summer of 1954, the family was able to enjoy a great vacation on the island of Cyprus, highlighted by swimming in the clear, blue seas of the Mediterranean, and visits to many historical sites, included the place where Paul & Silas were imprisoned, and the ruins of a castle built by Richard the Lionhearted during one of the crusades. On their way back to the US in 1955, the family enjoyed a wonderful European vacation that included visits to Naples, Rome, Bavaria, Belgium, London, and culminated with a three-week visit with Sheila's mother in Dunfermline, Scotland.

After their return to the US, Bob was stationed at the Naval Mine Warfare School, in Yorktown, VA, then transferred just up the road to the Skiffes Creek Annex of the Naval Weapons Station in 1959. Bob was reassigned to Mayport, FL early in 1961, and after a Navy cruise through the Mediterranean aboard the aircraft carrier, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the family (which now numbered 7 with the birth of two more daughters, and the addition of Sheila's mother, who'd moved in with them in 1956) moved to Atlantic Beach, FL, where they'd bought their first home. He served on various ships during his time in Mayport, and was aboard the aircraft carrier Saratoga during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1963, Bob was transferred to the Naval Training Center at Bainbridge, MD, where he served as an instructor at the Yeoman school. Two years later, Bob retired from the Navy after 27 years of distinguished service, and went to work for the University of Delaware as an administrative assistant to the president, a post he held for 18 years. The family moved to their new home in Windy Hills, where Bob resided for the remainder of his years.

Bob loved to travel, take cruises and visit with his extended family in Texas, Illinois, Kansas City, etc., frequently travelling thousands of miles by car, accompanied by various family members. Bob, along with his son and daughter-in-law, were season ticket holders for the U of D football games from 1971 to 2004, when his failing knees kept him from attending any longer. They enjoyed many great Saturdays tailgating, and even attended a lot of away games - especially enjoying the William & Mary contests in Williamsburg, only 10 miles from where they lived from 1955 - 1961. Bob was a very active member of Kingswood United Methodist Church, the Fleet Reserve Association and the VFW, serving in various official and administrative capacities. He also served many years as a volunteer worker at the VA hospital in Elsmere, DE. Bob was an avid coin and stamp collector, and a long time member of the Newark Coin Club. He had

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