Jesse Lee Phillips Sr.

June 14, 1921March 10, 2010

Jesse Lee Phillips, Sr. died Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at Riverside Hospital.

Jesse was born June 14, 1921 in Warwick County, Va., now Newport News. As a boy, Jesse lived on his family’s dairy farm on the James River where he loved to fish and sail the river. He graduated from Newport News High School in 1939. He served honorably in the Virginia National Guard while attending the Norfolk Naval Shipyard Apprentice School. In 1944, he joined the Marine Corps and served as a radar technician in the Night Fighter Squadron serving in China. Jesse owned and operated the first aluminum siding company in Newport News from 1956 to 1961. In 1962, he relocated his family to Houston, Texas where he worked as a mechanical draftsman for NASA. During his career with NASA, he was instrumental in shaping the designs for the Gemini and Apollo space missions. Jesse retired from NASA in 1979. After retirement, he worked for several private companies in Houston until 1992. During his post retirement career he helped to design the Wake Shield Facility which was flown on the Shuttle at least three times. Jesse was very proud of his contributions to the space program.

Jesse was preceded in rest by his wife of 41 years, Marie Campbell Phillips; brothers, Warren and Tommy Phillips, and Danny Morgan; and ex-wife, Ruby Berka (mother of his children).

Jesse is survived by his son, Lee Phillips; his daughters, Kathy Hurlock and husband, Allen, Patte Wajciechowski and husband, Wayne; his grandchildren, Kelli West and husband, Tim, Nikki Galindo and husband, Dave, Justin Phillips, Sarah, Michelle, and Allen (A.J.) Hurlock, and Madison Wooten; three great-grandchildren; his sister, Jean Burdick; his brother, James Morgan and wife, Carolyn; his sister-in-law, Smokey Phillips; and very special nieces, nephews, and friends.

The family would like to thank the staff of Northampton Convalescent Center and Dr. Sarah Bushey for the excellent care they gave our father during the latter part of his life.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to either the Parkinson's Disease Foundation or the Hampton Fire and Rescue.

A graveside service will be conducted at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 17 at Parklawn Memorial Park. The family will receive family and friends at 301 North Keith Road, in Hampton immediately following the burial.

Friends are encouraged to visit to share memories and words of condolence with the family.

Arrangements are under the care of Parklawn-Wood Funeral Home, 2551 N. Armistead Ave. in Hampton, 23666.


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Jesse Lee Phillips Sr.

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Phil Van Goey

September 12, 2011

Jesse taught me everything I know about Design & Drafting. Working with him was the best time in my life, not the easiest because he wouldn't like it if there was ever any lollygaging or goofing off going on. He wanted to pass his knowledge on and boy did he. He was one on the smartest men I have ever had the priviledge of knowing. I lost touch with him the last few years but none the less he will be missed deeply by a lot of people, especially me. -Phil G. Van Goey

Lisa Orego

March 24, 2010

I just found out today about his passing. I was looking up information today about Mr. Phillips to help my 12 year old with her science project; I remembered that Mr. Phillips gave my husband and me a signed copy of a drawing of the first space ship. I took it out and showed it to my daughter. Tomorrow my daughter will share her time spent with Mr. Phillips at school and his great accomplishments! What a great man! He will be missed by so many of us. He is the ideal AMERICAN MAN. Wish I could have said good-bye. Mr. Phillips you will be greatly missed. Your family has lost a great man but your legacy will live on. Lisa Orego Ft.Worth Texas/Hampton Virginia

March 15, 2010

My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.

Linda Petrie

March 14, 2010

Mr.Phillips was the best man I have ever met. I will dearly miss our visits. I enjoyed listening to his intresting stories and browsing thru his photographs. My friend. Kind, gentle, funny, and cool. I will miss you everyday of my life. May you rest in peace. I love you.

Mary Anna (Campbell) Smith

March 13, 2010

Our hearts go out to the family and the friends of the late Jesse Phillips. We offer our deepest sympathy in this time of loss. Uncle Jesse will continue to be a part of our lives through the many memories of visits and time shared together, as well as of our frequent phone conversations over the years. We still are inspired by eagerly shared enthusiasm for the many contributions he made to the NASA space projects. Every report of a NASA project on the news instantly brings Uncle Jesse to our minds and our hearts. While we all grieve at this time in our own ways, we are strengthened and comforted by the way Uncle Jesse lived his life and followed his dreams. He touched all of our lives in many ways. He will truly be missed. As we mourn, we celebrate what a wonderful person he was to everyone. We'll be keeping the family in our prayers.
God Bless: Mary Anna (Campbell) Smith and husband, Doug Smith




Hilton Farmhouse, inherited by Jesse, Sr. from his dad, Thompson Phillips, who operated Hilton Dairy