William Phillips Obituary (2021) – Greensboro, NC
Phillips, Sr., William Edwin “Ed”
May 17, 1936 – September 2, 2021
William Edwin “Ed” Phillips, Sr., husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend and mentor passed away peacefully on September 2, 2021 with his family; the 60th wedding anniversary of him and his loving wife Penelope “Penny” Glover Phillips.
He is survived by Penny, his two sons Ed Phillips, Jr. (fiancé Kelly May) of Morganton, NC; Chris Phillips and daughter-in-law Melissa from Mooresville, NC; Grandson Cassie (Andrew) Schweickert from Dover, DE; Anna (Christian) Cook of Wilmington, NC; Erin (Zach) Erickson of Fletcher, NC; and great-grandson Henry Schweickert and Adler Schweickert; his sister Peggy Phillips Baird of Charlotte, NC; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Ed was born on May 17, 1936, at his grandfather’s Doub farmhouse in the Baltimore Rd Township of East Bend, NC, to parents Kermit Orvall Phillips and Inez Doub Phillips. He graduated from Harding High School in Charlotte, NC with the 1954 class, graduated from Charlotte College, and earned a degree in business administration from Wake Forest College in 1962.
In 1947, at the age of 11, he had an attack of the polio virus and Ed spent 8 months at the North Carolina Orthopedic Hospital in Gastonia. He recovered, and while his dreams of personal athletic ability were dashed, his love and spirit for the sport was not. As soon as he could walk again, he became a permanent fixture at Glenwood Recreation Center in Charlotte and found he could play half-field basketball. He later assisted the Leisure Director in running programs for other young people. This resulted in his entire life being intensely involved in exercise and coaching, including intramural in the Wake Forest. His teams won numerous championships in many sports in the independent leagues and competed against the fraternities.
On September 2, 1961, he and Penny were married in the former First Baptist Church in Charlotte, now Spirit Square. After graduating from Wake Forest, he and Penny moved to Greensboro, where Ed began a career with the American Insurance Companies, later known as The Fireman’s Fund Insurance Companies. He immediately joined this profession successfully and began a series of lifelong friendships, both professionally and personally.
In 1970, Ed helped found the Westbury Recreation Association in Greensboro, where he worked tirelessly with neighbors “to get our kids off the streets” and to join sports programs and activities. This program has benefited many boys and girls over the years. It was his dream and persistence that made the program a success. He was president of the club and sports director. In 1975 Fireman’s Fund offered Ed a promotion, and he packed up the family and moved to Davenport, IA, where he became Commercial Lines Manager. Westbury was so grateful to Ed’s leadership that they awarded an annual award on his behalf to the person who most demonstrated his character and leadership.
In 1977, Fireman’s Fund called again and offered Ed a promotion to Director of Commercial Lines Administration in the San Francisco home office. But he always longed to be in North Carolina and to be closer to his family again. That opportunity arose in late 1980 and he returned to Greensboro as Commercial Line Manager and then Executive Underwriter for all Carolinas business. He laid the foundation for the growth of Fireman’s Fund insurance for large commercial clients. In May 1993 he retired from Fireman’s Fund after 32 years of dedicated service to the company and the industry.
Through all of these moves, he made sure the family found a church home, and he and Penny have been long-term members of Muir’s Chapel United Methodist Church for 41 years. He participated in many activities including board of directors, lay leaders, men’s committee and softball coach, the latter on returning from Charlotte after Fireman’s Fund closed the Greensboro office.
Throughout his life he managed to touch the lives of almost everyone he met and met. He’s been a friend and supporter of countless people, and Ed, Jr. and Chris’ greatest cheerleader. In addition to his many accomplishments, he was proud of the 22 years he spent serving as the court spokesperson for boys and girls’ basketball games for Page High School and as chairman of Greensboro Youth Baseball (Colt League).
He and Penny were each other’s rock and best friends from the day they met until his death. Through good and bad times, ups and downs, he was a sponge and learned from every experience. UNC-TV, Discovery, and History Channel were favorite programs. He tried once for Jeopardy and he would have been a great candidate.
If you had asked Ed what made him happiest in life, he would probably have said his family and especially his granddaughters and great-grandchildren. Whether it was a ball game, a family reunion, or a Sunday drive, he loved spending time with the family. He really enjoyed telling stories about his sons and grandchildren and beamed with joy at their activities. Ed believed he was happy in his recovery from polio and was guided by his faith and belief in helping others and the Boston Red Sox.
The funeral service will take place on Monday, September 6, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. at Muir’s Chapel United Methodist Church, with the tour starting at 1:00 p.m. The burial takes place in the church cemetery. Guests are asked to wear masks.
The family urges you to keep Ed’s spirit and legacy alive by contributing to the Muir’s Chapel United Methodist Church Building Bridges Fund (314 Muirs Chapel Rd, Greensboro, NC 27410) or the Bill White Scholarship Fund with Greensboro Youth Baseball (4285 .) Make -1C Cedar Croft Ct, Greensboro, NC 27409).
Forbis & Dick Guilford Chapel serves the Phillips family. Online condolences can be found at www.forbisanddick.com.
Published by Greensboro News & Record on September 5, 2021.