Jim Arlon Phillips
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Jim Arlon Phillips
  • July 6, 1945 - March 18, 2017
  • Valrico, Florida

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James Arlon Phillips, 71, went home to be with his Lord on Saturday, March 18, 2017 in Tampa, Florida.

Jim spent his early years in Kennett, Missouri, with his parents, Cecil and Lily Phillips and his sisters, Juanita and Darlene. As a farmer's son, Jim was no stranger to hard work. His "personal best" was the day he picked 500 pounds of cotton by himself. Those years of work with his family cultivated Jim's love of the outdoors and he "farmed" every yard he ever had. His family always appreciated the beauty of his labor.

Jim excelled academically throughout his life, including being the valedictorian of his high school graduating class. As a gifted vocalist, Jim was a soloist in his church from the age of 10, in his high school choir, and he continued to provide ministry through special music as a soloist throughout his life. He was passionate about basketball and was a star player in high school and on a variety of intramural teams during his Air Force years. He also coached his son's youth basketball team for a couple of years.

He met his wife, Susan, when they were both students at Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. They married on February 25, 1968 and recently celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary.

Jim earned a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from SEMO and went on to earn a Master's degree in Meteorology from University of Michigan.

Jim began his 27-year Air Force career on November 17, 1967. When duty called, he responded by serving for a year in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970 and in the Middle East in support of Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s. He served as a meteorologist until he retired from active duty on June 30, 1995. A respected leader, Jim completed three military leadership schools during the course of his military service. He was well respected by his colleagues up and down the chain of command.

The Air Force took Jim, Susan and their children, Rebecca and Andrew, to many duty stations around the country and even to the United Kingdom for three years. He especially enjoyed his time in Tampa, Panama City, and Omaha.

Jim was actively involved in Christian ministry throughout his life. He was committed to serving others and supporting their spiritual development through his teaching, insightful conversations, and practical acts of service.

Jim is survived by his wife, Susan; daughter, Rebecca and husband, Robert LeCompte; son, Andrew and wife, Angela; grandchildren, Nathaniel, Jesse, Sophia, Alyssa, Aaron and Alana; and sister, Darlene and husband,Paul Callis.

A funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Thursday, March 23, 2017 at Hillsboro Memorial Funeral Home, interment to follow at 1:30 p.m. in Florida National Cemetery with Air Force honors. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in James Phillips' name to https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org or https://www.garysinisefoundation.org