Ralph Freeman Phillips
October 28, 1949 – January 11, 2020
Ralph Freeman Phillips, 70, of Potomac Falls VA passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on January 11, 2020 at the Adler Center for Caring. Ralph is preceded in death by his parents, Sandy Zoeth Phillips and Hattie Mariah Freeman. He leaves behind to cherish his memory his wife of 48 years, Merle Phillips; his daughters Ashley and Stacey; his grandson Renny; brothers-in-law Ron and Steve. Ralph was a 30 year veteran of the Fairfax County Fire Department. He joined the Department as a paid firefighter in January 1972 after several years as a volunteer. He retired as Battalion Chief in December 2002. He was extremely patriotic and deeply moved by the 9/11 tragedy and the loss of so many first responders and supported the Department’s response to this tragic event. Post retirement Ralph worked for Loudoun County Fire Inspection Department. Ralph enjoyed his hobby of racing radio controlled cars and won numerous national championships as well as qualifying for international racing. Ralph was an avid NASCAR fan and season ticket holder for Richmond races. He was a Washington Nationals and Washington Capitals fan and enjoyed going to those games especially with his grandson. He especially loved cheering him on from behind home plate at his baseball games and playing video games on Xbox with him. Ralph deeply loved his family and was always at the BBQ grill hosting family gatherings. He was the family’s hero and protector. Ralph’s memory is cherished by family, friends and neighbors and he will be greatly missed. Services for Ralph will be held Sunday, January 19, 2020 at National Funeral Home, 7482 Lee Highway, Falls Church, VA 22042. A visitation will be held from 10 am to 12 pm with a Celebration of Life beginning at 12 pm. Ralph will be laid to rest at National Memorial Park, reception to follow. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the Myelodysplastic Foundation Inc. ( www.mds-foundation.org ) or the Fairfax County FIRST Foundation (http://paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/2426106)
- Visitation Sunday, January 19, 2020
- Celebration of Life Sunday, January 19, 2020
- Committal Service Sunday, January 19, 2020
Ralph Freeman Phillips
January 13, 2020
I am saddened to learn of Ralph's passing. I extend my condolences to his caring wife, Merle and am very sorry for her loss.
On the other side of that sadness, is a feeling of privilege. I am privileged to know Ralph and to be able to share memories and stories with him in recent months. In 2019, he became a member of my support group, a group of reluctant cancer survivors looking for connection. Ralph and Merle arrived and energized the room with their stories of strength and love in the face of uncertainty.
Ralph was a retired firefighter. A battalion chief from what I understand. A man who dedicated his life for the protection and safety of others. Rising to the leadership ranks of the fire department isn’t easy and takes courage. It was with that same courage that he faced his ailment. It didn’t stop him. Despite the difficulty, he learned how to deal with it, modified his routines to accommodate it and lived his life to the best of his ability. His wife, caregiver and friend, stood by his side as we came to our meetings to share his cancer journey with the group. Ralph clearly helped all of us to understand and deal with our own conditions and to be our best in the face of that adversity.
I admired his strength and his courage. I am thankful for his willingness to come and share his story and journey.
I am honored to have known you, Ralph.