Cover photo for Joseph Phillips's Obituary
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1929 Joseph 2020

Joseph Phillips

October 2, 1929 — October 14, 2020

Joseph Lyndon Phillips was born in Indianola on Oct 2, 1929, to Ronald Earl Phillips and Ermal Olive (Hudson). The family moved to Lenox before he started first grade. Then before finishing first grade, the family moved the Corning. This move stuck in his mind because of the difference in the teaching techniques between the two schools. While growing up during the depression years, it forced many families to make due. Joe walked the railroad tracks picking up coal that had fallen off the railroad cars to help heat their house. By the age of 10, he was breaking horses for nearby neighbors to help with the family income. Joe had orneriness about him, but a sense of fairness and what was right. An incident occurred a couple of weeks before graduation, and this led to Joe not graduating with his class because he refused to apologize. In 1947 Joe entered the National Guard, where he received his GED. In between guard duty for the first few years, he also worked as a lineman with the REA. The National Guard took him through numerous training camps earning several certificates throughout the years. By the end of his training years, his field grade was a Major Military Officer.

Joe's interest in flying developed early in adulthood. In the 60's, this interest led him to the National Air Guard for aviation mechanical training school and officer’s training school. After four years of residing in Georgia, Alabama, and West Virginia (twice), and Texas for military training camps, Joe settled his family back in Corning in a basement house he built in the 50's, after his marriage to Jeanette Jones of Lenox on Oct 2. 1949. From this union four daughters were born between 1953 and 1960. Shortly after moving back to Corning a second floor was added to the basement. Upon his return to Corning, Joe worked a variety of jobs. A couple of those jobs included flying for the Roland Funeral Home and the Sheriff's Department. His love for flying put him in the right place at the right time for him to be hired by NFO as their full-time pilot. He spent many days away flying for NFO or performing his National Guard duties. During his time home, you could find him at the airport keeping his plane in top flying condition, making sure all the airport lights worked, unlocking the gas pumps as needed, helping other pilots, and many other chores.

Tragically, in 1978 Jeanette lost her battle to pancreatic cancer. Joe remarried in 1979 to Karen Burton. Joe was no longer flying for NFO and his adventures with different ideas led him to raise ostriches, sell insurance and machine sheds, a salesman for Midwest Product, and any flying jobs that came his way.

Not long after Karen passed in 2001, Joe moved from his home north of town into Corning. This brought him to many city council meetings, helping with American Legion duties, taking his daily morning walks, cherishing conversations he came across, and he continued his love of reading. His reading topics were unlimited, politics, new technology, health, anything that inspired his interest.

Joe was always available to help his daughters and grandkids, He will be dearly missed by his family.

Left to cherish his memory are his daughters: Gail (Richard Wilker), Kathy Jo Bissell, Lee Ann Johnston, Lynn (Dave Lundquist); step-daughter Janet Burton; 15 grandchildren; 29 great-grandchildren; and 13 great-great-grandchildren.

Preceding Joe in death was an infant brother; Richard, his parents; his sisters: Nan Stein and Jean Devereaux; his wives: Jeanette and Karen; stepson; Kirby Burton; and granddaughter: Danielle Turlock.

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