Ian M. Phillips Jr.

January 18, 1931January 10, 2019

Ian M. Phillips Jr, loving husband, father, and grandfather, passed away at the age of 87, Thursday, January 10, 2019. Ian was born on January 18, 1931 in Pensacola, FL to Ian and Alice. He was a professional soldier and dedicated Culpeper community supporter. On September 2, 1982 he married Mary Lou, the love of his life and originally from Culpeper, and together they raised their children Ian, Carolyn, Kelly, and Candice. Ian was a native of Pensacola Florida, graduated from Samuel J. Peters High School in New Orleans, and continued his education at Columbia University and the University of Maryland earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Management. Ian enlisted in the US Naval Reserve as a Seaman Recruit in January 1948 and then transferred to the US Army in December 1948 as a Private Recruit. He retired in 1975 as a full Colonel with 27 years of distinguished service. He was a combat veteran and served proudly in South Korea, Italy, Austria, Germany (Berlin), and Vietnam along with assignments in Kansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Hawaii, and Virginia. In addition to operational and staff assignments, Colonel Phillips served as a Company Commander, a Battalion Commander, and a Brigade Commander. Included in his decorations are The Legion of Merit (1 Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC)); The Meritorious Service Medal (1 OLC); and The Army Commendation Medal (2 OLCs). Following his retirement from the Army Ian served as a civil servant with the US Department of Commerce conducting special studies in the Maritime and Management fields. He was later appointed to review actions related to the Cambodian capture of the US Flagged SS Mayaguez. In 1988, Ian and Mary Lou moved to Culpeper and for the next 30 years he served the Culpeper community as diligently as he served his country. Ian was a Past-President of the Fairfax Optimist Club, the Culpeper Optimist Club, the Salem Ruritan Club, and the Salem Educational Foundation, Inc. He was a Past-Governor of the Capital-Virginia District of Optimist International. He served as a member of the Culpeper County Planning Commission for 17 years. Ian served as Vice President of the Commonwealth of Virginia Council of the Congressional Award, a program that positively impacted hundreds of Virginia youth, many from Culpeper, by encouraging personal initiative, achievement, and service. In 2007, the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors awarded him the Culpeper Colonel Award for his outstanding community service. You could find Ian most Saturday mornings enjoying coffee at Duke’s Country Store with his friends, telling tales, and solving the problems of the day. He was quite the story teller and captivated his audiences with his experiences from near and far. His military career was filled with adventures both funny and terrifying and he recounted them with incredible detail, he had a very gifted mind. Ian loved talking to people and took the time to do so. When he worked on the Culpeper County E-911 Street Naming Committee, he spent time learning the histories of the families that lived on a road and made every effort to fix that history with a road name. He loved to travel with dear friends and family, learn new things and relive past experiences. He was always planning the next trip and the excursions for him and Mary Lou. He believed learning was a continuous journey no matter your age. He dedicated himself to ensuring the opportunity for higher education for local Culpeper youth through Oratory Scholarships, Congressional Awards, studies to ensure adequate future classroom space, and the Salem Education Foundation. He loved technology from the first PDA to the most current iPhone and even the drone he flew around Culpeper, just give him the user manual and he was set. Ian appreciated the beauty of nature and had a passion for yard work and developed an amazing green thumb during retirement. The hard work Mary Lou and he put into their yard was enviable as their plantings bloomed in magnificent splendor and invited the local wildlife to bring their fox pups, raccoons, opossums, and birds to also call it home. He was very active and dedicated to the Lord’s service as an active member and Trustee of Mitchells Presbyterian Church and had recently been appointed as a Deacon. He was previously an active member of the Culpeper United Methodist Church where he is often remembered for his design of the Fellowship Hall Kitchen and partnership with others in preparation of BBQ dinners. Ian was preceded in death by his father Ian, his mother Alice, and siblings Lawrence Phillips, Gertrude Williamson (George), Ella Lock (Howard), and Robert Phillips (Wanda). He is survived by his loving wife Mary Lou; his dear sister Florence Blackburn (Larry); his children Ian Phillips (Linda), Carolyn Phillips, Kelly Phillips, and Candice Southard (Jeff); seven grandchildren, Jennifer Nelson, Matthew Phillips (Sarah), Michael Phillips, Stewart Myers (Taylor), Caitlin Phillips, Ian Myers, and Sarah Southard; and six great grandchildren. Interment will be private at the Culpeper National Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be held Tuesday, January 29, 2019, at 11:00 AM, at the Mitchells Presbyterian Church, 12229 Mitchell Road, Mitchells, VA 22729 followed by a reception in the Fellowship Hall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Salem Educational Foundation, Inc., P. O. Box 456, Culpeper, VA, 22701. In the event of inclement weather, please contact the Clore-English Funeral Home for information at 540-825-2361.


  • Celebration of Life Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Ian M. Phillips Jr.

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Lee Hart

January 26, 2019

Dear Mary Lou and family,
Laura and I are sad to learn of Ian’s passing. The both of you were always such important people to us, helping me in my two sheriff’s elections. Ian’s intuitive political sense contributed greatly. He was always there to offer guidance. To say that he will be missed in Culpeper is an understatement.
Our hope is that all whose lives he touched will fill the holes in their hearts with beautiful memories.
In God’s Light,
Sheriff and Mrs. Lee Hart (ret.)

Courtney Walker

January 18, 2019

Dearest Ian, and my Phillips family--I am so lucky to have caught the attention of Mr. Ian back in the spring of 2005. Beyond being accepted into school and trying for scholarships, I hadn’t really considered nor could I imagine the responsibility that would be before me with such a feat. Ian had. Ian continued to look over me and look out for me in his own way as I matriculated at Hampton University, even naming a special education fund with my “story” in mind-the Phoenix Fund, whereby the Phoenix , seemingly dead rises up and rises on in a powerful display from the ash. I was so honored, humbled, and proud in that moment. I also felt so relieved and fortunate for this fund that would continue to directly make contributions to myself and the University on my behalf until I would leave in May of 2010 finishing cum laude with my Master’s . I had become the Phoenix—Ian had been right again. To whom much is given, much is tested. But knowing there was someone else at home who cared SO much and BELIEVED made all the difference. I was able to focus on simply being a student. Ian provided that space that allowed for peace over my schooling. Mr. Phillips has without a doubt been one of the biggest blessings of my life. I will never know exactly what it was that caused Ian to take such an interest in me, but for his interest, his every effort to help me, and his love that continued to see me through even to now—year 31-I am so very fortunate and thankful. I vow to let my “life do the singing” as my University encourages, and look over, look out for, and look into programs and resources for other young people who are in need. After all, the Phoenix must continue to rise, and will rightfully do so in his honor.

So much love,
Courtney M. Walker


January 17, 2019

Colonel Phillips was a very kind and thoughtful gentleman. I know my father, Frank Zinn, enjoyed working with Colonel Phillips. I deeply appreciate his support of the Salem Ruritan Club. My deepest sympathy to all the family and friends.

Kathy Barker

January 17, 2019

My dear cousin Buddy. Give our loved ones in heaven a hug from me. I so cherished hearing your Army ventures and other adventures in your life. I tried to remember most of your words of wisdom. Until we meet again continue soldering on. Love, Kathy

Carolyn Phillips

January 16, 2019

Dearest Dad,
No one will ever love me like you did. You have long been my source of inspiration and motivation and saying goodbye to you is like saying goodbye to my heart, it can’t be done. Thank you for being by me, celebrating the triumphs and comforting me in the failures. Much of who I am today is because of your unconditional love and support. I will long carry the fond memories of watching Jeopardy with you when I was little, squirrels eating on the kitchen counters, that slight smile when you were playing a joke on someone, and that big tough guy sitting on the floor playing with Peggy and Pee Wee when they were puppies. I always knew you were proud of me, especially when you and Mary Lou flew to Panama to pin on my Oak Leaves.


January 11, 2019

I loved my cousin, Ian (Buddy) Phillips! He & Mary Lou always made me feel special! I'm so thankful for the strong bond he & my mother, Aunt Lawren, had over many years. It's a great comfort to know for sure there was happy celebration in heaven as Ian was welcomed into the arms of Jesus & reunited with beloved family members. Much love to you Mary Lou & all those who hold him close in their hearts.