Jerry Richard Phillips, age 75, died in his sleep at Highgate Senior Living in Bozeman, Montana, on Monday, Oct., 4, 2010.
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Jerry was preceded in death by his wife of 49 years, Margaret Ann Phillips.
Jerry is survived by his twin sister, Jane Dennison, of Lakewood, Colo. He is also survived by his son, Richard "Sam" Wade (Diane) Phillips of Charlotte, N.C., and his daughters, Ann Carlisle "Wickie" (Blake) Williamson of Bozeman and Stephanie Douglas (Stephen) Phillips-Beckley of Fort Collins, Colo. Jerry had five grandchildren, Carly Arnold, Cole Williamson, Rachel Beckley, Scott Phillips, and Julia Beckley; and four great-grandchildren, Lilly, Broderick and Theodore Arnold and Lizzylee Williamson.
Jerry was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Aug. 17, 1935, to Carlye Phillips and Eva Sayre. He graduated from high school in Denver and received bachelor's degree from the University of Denver in natural history. He also attended the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Jerry served in the United States Army as member of the Mountain Cold Weather Training Command at Camp Hale, Colo. Jerry spent most of his career working for the United States National Park Service where he began his career in the early 1960s as a seasonal ranger at Bear Lake Ranger Station in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. As a permanent ranger, Jerry was a climbing ranger at Longs Peak and ski ranger at Hidden Valley Ski Area. He attended the Horace M. Albright Training Center in Yosemite National Park during his Rocky years. From Rocky Mountain, he accepted a position as District Ranger for Lake Mohave District (the largest in the Park Service at the time) at Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Arizona, where he spent three years. Jerry then served at Yellowstone National Park, Wyo., where he accepted the position of Assistant Chief Ranger – Law Enforcement, moving there in mid-January, 1972, the centennial of the National Park System. While at Yellowstone he served several positions including Acting Chief Ranger. He left Yellowstone for Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site in La Junta, Colo., in 1980 where he was the Superintendent until 1985 when he retired from the Park Service. During the summers, Jerry often worked on logistics teams for the National Interagency Fire Center, traveling to major forest fires across the western states.
Upon retirement from the Park Service in 1995, Margaret Ann and Jerry moved to Fort Collins, Colo., where he filled his time trying out new career opportunities including real estate agent, school bus driver and eventually working for the City of Fort Collins Parks and Recreation where he was the Farmer at the Farm at Martinez Park. Upon retirement from the City of Fort Collins in 2008, he moved to Bozeman where he resided until his passing.
Jerry was an avid skier, and was a professional ski instructor for over 50 years. He also loved horses, had his private pilot license, was an expert marksman, and enjoyed water skiing, motorcycling, and sail boating. He is remembered by his family and friends for his many interests and passions in life, exceptional generosity, a love of animals that he shared with his wife and children, kind and gentle spirit, natural athletic ability, and wonderful talent for telling a grand story.
A celebration of Life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, at the Mammoth Chapel at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park. Arrangements are in the care of
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle from Oct. 8 to Oct. 9, 2010