closeup-2Wesley Ed Phillips, 55, died Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, after a long illness. Phillips was born in Brownwood, Texas, on Dec. 20, 1956. He graduated from Brownwood High School, before studying at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

While most of his adult life was spent in Dallas, he lived in Buffalo, N.Y., for several years — quite the climate change for a Texas boy. He had a varied and distinguished career, working as a young man for the telephone company, before starting a career in the funeral industry. He later moved into banking and finished his career managing a help desk at a local company. His career in the funeral industry prompted many stories and comments about the varied aspects of public service and human nature. He, like his grandmother before him, became an avid reader of obituaries. (We hope we did you proud with this one, Ed!)

He had a quick wit and a quiet sense of humor. He loved a tall tale and easily introduced himself to new friends. He attended the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, serving in the usher ministry, and aided the community in other ways as well. He loved to travel, and he enjoyed quiet time at home with those he loved. He was devoted to his dog, Bambi, who was a Hurricane Katrina rescue.

Phillips dealt with illness with grace and dignity, rarely letting on that he was almost always in intense pain. He refused to let his condition prevent him from giving service to his church or community, and living his life to the fullest.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Tyson and Jo Phillips. He is survived by his life partner, Randy Johnson; his sister and brother-in-law, Jeff and Ty Lawrence; three nephews, Tyson, Justin and Jamie Lawrence, and their wives and children;  aunts, Katherine Pate of Dallas and Lucille Ratliff of Lawton, Okla.; and close friends, Ken Kizer of Dallas and Jim O’Dea of Buffalo, N.Y. Phillips was also close to his cousin, Mary Ellen Irving, and her husband, Henry. Kizer, his friend of many years, was vitally important to his care — many thanks to him for his love and support. And last, there is  Bambi, who was always at his side. Phillips will be greatly missed by all. Services were Nov. 18 at the Cathedral of Hope.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 23, 2012.