Originally Published: February 4, 2018 6:03 a.m.
Updated as of Monday, February 5, 2018 6:58 AM
John Charles “Charlie” Phillips passed away Jan. 22, 2018, in Prescott, Arizona, after a short illness. He was born June 3, 1921, in Dunn, North Carolina, to John Charles Phillips and Florence Alline (Bethea) Phillips.
Charlie moved to Prescott in 1922, attending kindergarten at Lincoln School in 1926 and first grade at a one-room school house in Walker. The family then moved to the Phoenix area, and following World War II, where he served with the Army Air Corps, Charlie earned a BA in Education from Arizona State Teachers College (now Arizona State University.) In 1951, he married the love of his life, Margaret Ann (Chambers) Phillips. They had 46 great years together until her passing in 1997.
Charlie had a long career as a teacher in the Prescott public schools, spending the greatest part of his time as a fifth-grade teacher and, eventually, Principal of Lincoln School. He is the only person at Lincoln (so far) to be a student, teacher and principal. Charlie was mechanical, musical, artistic and curious. He took his first automobile engine apart when he was 12, and as recently as six months ago, he was furiously drafting mechanical sketches of an engine he wanted to invent.
Charlie played the organ at the Fox Theater in Phoenix when he was 5 years old. In his mid-70s to his late-80s, he wrote nearly 100 songs on his digital piano and Macintosh computer. He also was a dedicated fan and student of Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson and American jazz guitarist Joe Pass. Listen to the recordings of any of these artists, and you’ll have a little bit of Charlie with you.
In retirement, Charlie also enjoyed many years of artistic expression though creating pottery and blowing hot glass. And during those years, when he wasn’t throwing pots or blowing vases, he and Margaret enjoyed many long motorcycle trips – Canada three times and anywhere in the Southwest when time allowed.
Charlie was predeceased by his wife, Margaret Ann Chambers) Phillips, and his two brothers, James Phillips and William Phillips. He is survived by his sons, John (Chris) Phillips of Prescott, Arizona, Richard (Jeanne) Phillips of Beavercreek, Oregon, and Mark Phillips of Prescott Valley, Arizona.
The family will announce a celebration of life event in a few months.
To honor Charlie and his life’s work, please consider a donation to Lincoln Elementary School, 201 Park Ave., Prescott, Arizona. Please sign the online guestbook for John at: www.ruffnerwakelin.com.
Information provided by survivors.