Obituary of Willie James Phillips

Willie "Bill" Phillips (Utica) 62. 

The substantial life of Bill Phillips came to an end on March 9, 2019, when he passed away at St. Luke’s Hospital shortly after visiting with his sisters. Bill died after struggling with pancreatic cancer. The family is forever indebted to the outstanding nurses, doctors and medical professionals that made his last days possible and comfortable. Bill was a father, a coach, a grandfather, an uncle, a friend and a councilman whose most notable characteristics were a big heart and an open door. He prided himself on finding value in every single person he came across.

He was born in Utica to July Phillips and Eliza Richardson Phillips and attended Potter School, Utica Free Academy and Mohawk Valley Community College. He made his living as a corrections officer, mostly at Marcy Correctional Facility. He served as a councilman for more than 11 years, representing the Cornhill neighborhood in Utica. During his tenure on the council he championed home ownership, community policing, park revitalization and infrastructure improvements. Bill and Jenny Patterson conceived his oldest child, Lorissa Minor. He and Karen Austin Phillips married and raised Natalie and Marques Phillips. His grandchildren consist of Amecca, Abdul Amin and Al Islam Galloway as well as Alanna Phillips. He was preceded in passing by his brothers Walter and Ulysee and his sister Loretta. His sisters Marguerite and Sylvia survive along with his brother John.

Services will include a viewing from 5-9 p.m. on March 14 at T. Revels Gibson Funeral Home in Utica as well as a viewing at 1 p.m. followed by a service at 2 p.m. on March 15 at Greater Grace Church in Utica. The family would like to thank Theresa Wojnas for helping care for Bill, Craig Minor and Jim Winston for bringing him to medical appointments, Mayor Robert Palmieri and his Common Council colleagues for their accommodations and Dr. Sultana Razia for her saint-like qualities. We would like our father to be remembered for his benevolence, judgment and dedication to making people’s lives. 

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