William Joseph Phillips
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William Joseph Phillips
  • March 5, 1937 - April 3, 2017
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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William J. (Bill) Phillips, (80), came into this world on March 5, 1937, in Chickasha, OK, the youngest child of Harry Hill and Marjorie Cochran Phillips.
His happy childhood was spent in Chickasha, where he graduated from Chickasha High School before attending and graduating from the University of Oklahoma School of Journalism (now the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications). At OU he was a member of Kappa Alpha Order and was an editor on the Oklahoma Daily.
After spending six years in Southern California working in newspaper and book publishing, public relations and motion pictures, Bill returned to Oklahoma, where he has lived and worked since.
Twenty three of those years were at corporate headquarters of Kerr-McGee Corp. in downtown Oklahoma City, where he worked in community relations, corporate philanthropy, special events, corporate advertising and board of directors' relations.
During that period, he directed special events across the country and the world. In Scotland, he was the Kerr-McGee corporate liaison for the commissioning of the world's largest offshore drilling rig, an event that featured Queen Elizabeth II in the traditional sponsorship role of breaking the Champagne bottle. In Australia he worked with K-M management on the grand opening of a large chemical facility outside Perth, and in the Bahamas he oversaw numerous K-M subsidiary board meetings.
But it was in his native Oklahoma that Bill enjoyed his work most, including his major role in downtown Oklahoma City activities, including the grand opening of Kerr-McGee Center and the dedication of Kerr Park and Couch Drive Park. He served on the boards of the OKC Chapter of the American Red Cross, Lyric Theater; Better Business Bureau, All Souls Episcopal Church, Downtown Now (now Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc.) Oklahoma City Advertising Club, Canterbury Choral Society, Oklahoma City Beautiful, Schools for Healthy Lifestyles and the National Executive Service Corps Affiliate Network.
In 1995, after taking early retirement from Kerr-McGee, Bill and others interested in strengthening the management practices of Central Oklahoma nonprofits established the Executive Service Corps of Central Oklahoma (ESCCO), where Bill served as president and CEO until stepping down in 2010.
He was a long-time parishioner of All Souls Episcopal Church and a proud member of the Chickasaw Nation. In 2011 he was honored with a Pathmakers Award from the Oklahoma County Historical Society and that same year received a national award for community service from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.
Bill leaves behind his loving wife, Judy. He also is survived by his sons, Adam Linn Phillips of Las Vegas, NV, and Gregory Mullen Phillips and wife, Jenny, of Dallas, and stepdaughter Jennifer Griffin and husband, Jason, of Greensboro, NC. Also surviving are his adoring grandchildren Will, Emily and Olivia Phillips of Dallas, and Thomas and Anna Griffin of Greensboro, along with his brother Harry Hill Phillips and wife, Madge, of Amarillo, TX. He is additionally survived by mother and father in law, Billye Dean and Eddie Poole and brother in law Buz Poole, Aunt Ruth Anne Tucker and many nieces and nephews.
Preceding him in death were his parents; brother B Cochran Phillips and wife, Margery; sister Marilyn Phillips Kliewer and husband, Frank Kliewer, and sister-in-law Nancy Boxwell Phillips.
His friends will always remember his kind heart, gracious manners and unforgettable evenings with Bill at the piano playing old show tunes.
A Memorial Service will be Celebrated at All Souls Episcopal Church Saturday, April 8th at 3pm. Contributions in Bill's name may be made to the Executive Service Corps of Central Oklahoma, 600 N. Walker Ave., OKC 73102, or to any of the many charities with whom Bill worked through the years.