Donald James Phillips

Donald James Phillips

Donald James Phillips


Donald James (Jim) Phillips, born June 1, 1928, in Portsmouth, Ohio, to Don and Elizabeth (Parsons) Phillips, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Feb. 14, 2019, surrounded by many loved ones.

In 1940, the family left Ohio and moved to Arizona. The day he turned 17, he graduated from Phoenix Union High School and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.

He became an Arizona highway patrolman March 24, 1952, which was the beginning of a long and dedicated career in law enforcement. He alone was assigned the Governor’s Security Detail (aide) for Governor Paul Fannin. Jim was promoted to captain and during his career became a zone commander. Around 1970, the Arizona Highway Patrol became the Department of Public Safety and assigned badge numbers to employees according to hire date. Jim then became Badge No. 36; today, badge numbers are in the 12,000 range. He was loved and respected by many folks all over Arizona, especially in the cities and towns where he lived and served during his law enforcement career.

When Jim was around age 30, he made the most important decision of his life: trusting in Christ as his savior. He was ever thankful for the Lord’s mercy and grace. Jim often shared that the highlight of his patrol career was when a Billy Graham Crusade was held at the ASU stadium in Tempe. Jim was honored to be assigned to drive evangelist Billy Graham, Cliff Barrows (song leader) and George Beverly Shea (gospel singer), to and from the crusades.

Always politically conservative, he desired to be involved in government and was elected two terms to the Arizona House of Representatives. He was a driving force in securing funding for DPS’ vision of establishing a statewide air rescue operation. He also served on various civic committees. Additionally, his career included police chief of several Arizona cities, security director of Desert Samaritan Hospital (now Banner Desert) and much more.

He was kind, considerate and thoughtful, with an infectious smile, and a friend to all. Around age 30, he trusted in Christ as his savior and was ever thankful for the Lord’s mercy and grace.

Jim was preceded in death by: his parents; and granddaughter-in-law, Kaylee Phillips.

His loving memory will be cherished by: his beloved children, Beverly Phillips Jones (Gene), of Willcox; Shirley Elizabeth Phillips, of Glendale; Donald James Phillips Jr. (Linda), of Lexington, Ky., Norman Phillips, of Yuma, Paul Phillips (Sue), of Houston, Elma Phillips Sproul (Mike), of Chandler, and Lori Ann Olson (Pete) of Glendale. Jim was also very proud of his brother, Col. (Ret.) Dr. Robert Phillips, and sister-in-law, Bonne, of Albuquerque, N.M.; nephew, Dr. Robert Phillips Jr., of New Jersey; niece, Dr. Brooke Phillips Baker, of Albuquerque; and many beloved grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Special thank you and recognition for two organizations Jim was proud to be part of: Coalition of DPS Retirees and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 2. Jim was blessed with many dear former co-workers and friends, too numerous to mention.

He had a joyful spirit and was dearly loved by so many. He will never be forgotten.

A celebration of life service with a Department of Public Safety Honor Guard presentation was held Friday, March 1, 2019, at 11 a.m., at Northwest Valley Baptist Church, 4030 W. Yorkshire Dr., Glendale, AZ.

Arrangements were handled by Regency Mortuary.

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