ELIZABETHTOWN — Dr. Bruce Alton Phillips Jr., age 73, of Elizabethtown, passed away Monday, December 8, 2014.
He was born in Lenoir County on May 4, 1941. He was predeceased by his parents, Bruce Alton Phillips and Mildred Albritton Phillips and by his daughter, Lara Suzanne Phillips.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy Crocker Phillips; sons Michael and wife Julie of Myrtle Beach, Matthew and Mark of the home; granddaughters Lara Nicole and Amanda Grace Phillips; a brother William Earl Phillips and wife Vickie V. Phillips of Kinston; and sister Helen Phillips Pase and husband Raymond of Emerald Isle; and a number of nieces and nephews.
He graduated from Wheat Swamp High School in 1959 and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in chemistry in 1963 and the UNC School of Medicine in 1967. He was a Life Member of the UNC Alumni Association and the Medical Alumni Association. He served an Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky from 1967 until 1971. Dr. Phillips then served two years in the United States Army, stationed at Womack Hospital, Fort Bragg.
Upon completion of his training and military service, he entered the private practice of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology in Elizabethtown, where he cared for patients in that area until his retirement in May of 2012. Throughout those years, he was a strong supporter of Bladen County Hospital, serving for a period as Chief of Staff and on numerous committees. He was active in the Bladen We Care program which provides financial assistance to patients in need and in the development of Hospice care in Bladen County and throughout the region.
Dr. Phillips was also active in the Bladen County community. In 1980 he helped organize the Elizabethtown Optimist Club, serving as Charter President and eventually becoming Governor of the NC East District and serving a term as International Vice President followed by several committee assignments in the International organization. He was recognized for his leadership and accomplishments by North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, this state's highest civilian honor.
In spite of the many demands made upon him, he always found time to spend with family and friends, coaching Little League, taking family trips to the western U.S. to ski, golfing with his buddies and spending time at his favorite place in the country, the fishing grounds of his beloved Outer Banks. He had a deep love for his family and was especially happy when he could spend time with his granddaughters.
Dr. Phillips knew from his childhood that he wanted to become a doctor. By his faithful service, he made a difference in the lives of many who sought good medical medical care from him.
A graveside burial service will be held on Thursday, December 11, at 1:30 p.m. followed by a Celebration of his Life at Wesley's Chapel United Methodist Church in Elizabethtown at 3 p.m. The family will receive friends following the service in the church's multipurpose building.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Wesley's Chapel UMC, 2409 Peanut Plant Rd., Elizabethtown, NC 28337; Boys and Girls Home of NC, PO Box 127, Lake Waccamaw, NC 28450; Bladen We Care, PO Box 1569, Elizabethtown NC 28337 or Bladen County Hospital Foundation, PO Box 398, Elizabethtown NC 28337.