Robert Phillips was born on November 5, 1931 in Green Hill, North Carolina but grew up in Rutherfordton, North Carolina with his parents Tom and Annie Phillips and his 10 siblings, 6 brothers and 4 sisters. He was raised on a farm and continued his love of farm life by having his own vegetable garden at his home of almost 40 years in Orlando. He was so proud of his garden which he shared with his neighbors, friends and family. He also loved golf and telling jokes. No one knew more jokes than our dad.
After Christmas 1948, my dad decided to leave home and join the Army. He was approached by the recruiter who convinced him to join the Air force instead. This started a long career (he retired in 1976, as a Sr Master Sergeant) that took our dad to the Korean war, two tours in Vietnam and places all over the world. One stop changed his life forever. This is a story from our dad's autobiography: ‘In May 1955, I flew into Athens. Greece and we were able to spend three days there. It was a nice spring day and in the evening a friend of mine and I were taking a walk along the bay admiring all the young ladies, when we met three girls coming from the opposite direction. We immediately did an about face following them to an ice cream stand and to this day I consider that the luckiest day of my life. It took a lot of earnest talking to get Sasa's name and address. For those of you old enough to remember the song I Never See Maggie Alone, that was our courtship. We were married on December 26, 1955. I wish my mom and dad could have met Sasa's family. They were and are the best!'
Our parents went on to have 6 children, Annie, baby Alexander, Patricia (Betsy), Belinda, Robin and Barbara. They were married for over 60 years. He also was a proud grandpa of 9 grandchildren (Adam, Alex, Philip, Joey, Danielle, Samantha, Joshua, Sarah, Julia) and 3 great-grandchildren ( Caden, Eli and Ella). He loved his family so much. This includes his surviving brother Will, his sons-in-law, his in-laws who he loved as his own, all of his nieces, nephews and extended family. He looked forward to the Phillips family reunion every year. He also loved his friends. He was a generous, loving, giving man and a wonderful husband, father and grandfather (great).
He was preceded in death by his parents, Tom and Annie Phillips, brothers Hugh, Leroy, Broadus, Horace and Kenneth, sisters Juanita, Wavolyn, Hazel and Eva, and newborn son Alexander. He is survived by his wife Anastasia (Sasa), his daughters Annie (husband Kevin, son Adam wife Ashley, children Caden, Eli and Ella, son Philip wife Brandy child Alex ), Betsy (children Joey and Danielle), Belinda (husband Richard), Robin (husband Mark, children Alex and Samantha) and Barbie (husband Mike, children Joshua, Sarah and Julia).
We will miss you forever daddy. Your love will continue to grow and shine throughout. You taught us well. We are so proud to be your daughters. We will take care of mom so rest in peace and enjoy being with your loved ones in Heaven.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to St. Jude Children's Hospital.
Arrangements entrusted to Carey Hand Colonial Funeral Home, Orlando, Florida.