MONTROSE, Mich.—Richard Phillips, 74, died Nov. 15 of multiple myeloma cancer. He served for 40 years as pastor of Montrose Baptist Church, Montrose, Mich.
Pastor Phillips was an active member of the Montrose community and will be remembered as Montrose’s “community pastor.” Don O’Guinn, president of O’Guinn Family Funeral Homes and a Montrose resident, said Richard “had become the ‘community pastor’ by serving all people, not just his congregation, for over 40 years.” Phillips earned numerous awards for his community work. He was inducted into the Montrose Hall of Fame and was named Citizen of the Year and Public Servant of the Year by the Montrose Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife, Mary, served as grand marshals of the Montrose Blueberry Festival. Richard also served with the Forgotten Man Ministries jail ministry.
He is survived by his wife, Mary; his children, Timothy Phillips and Frances “Tammi” Phillips; four siblings, Theodore Phillips, Peggie Laidler, Madeline Shanahan, and Thomas Phillips; and several nieces and nephews.
A Tribute to Pastor Richard Phillips
Submitted by Pastor Dan Pugh (Montrose Baptist Church, Montrose, Mich.)
What a privilege it was to pay tribute to the man who preceded me as the pastor of Montrose Baptist Church for nearly 40 years. As I considered how few pastors have any real opportunity to personally get to know their predecessors—sometimes, unfortunately, transition situations make this impossible—I’m grateful that the Lord put it on my heart to get to know Pastor Phillips, that he was willing to oblige, and that the Lord sovereignly chose to delay his Homegoing for just awhile longer in order for our acquaintance and friendship to take place.
Pastor Richard Phillips finished well even as he lived out his final days of physical struggle following many years of being ravaged by multiple myeloma cancer. Although unable to continue in his beloved role at the church, he tried as health allowed to maintain his many relationships in the church and community. He served as a jail chaplain with Forgotten Man Ministries; wrote poetry and treatises on several theological issues; and purposely referred to me as pastor, as I, too, honored him with the same designated title and function of life that we both realized the Lord had clearly called us to. That is how pastoral transitions should be!
His funeral was a tribute service filled with memories from family, church members, and longtime community friends. Hundreds of people sang with abandon “It Is Well with My Soul” and were blessed by musical specials by a friend who sang “Serenaded by Angels” and the Gospelmen, who sang “New Ship Sailing.” A poem of Pastor Phillips’, “I Would Be Faithful,” was read. I preached from his favorite passage, Philippians 1:6. And the service concluded with “Jesus Loves Me,” well-known by virtually everyone who knew him as his favorite song.
In the service program was the following poem written by Pastor Richard Phillips:
One Day He’ll Call
One day the Lord will call my name,
And I shall go to be
With the One who loves me so,
He who died on Calvary’s tree.
With Him I’ll dwell forevermore,
In His home beyond the sky,
And find His promise, oh, so true,
No part of it is a lie.
The hurts of life, they’ll all be gone.
There’s only glory in that land.
Such joy and gladness never known
Is what my Savior’s planned.
No longer will my sight be blurred,
For I’ll see Him face-to-face,
And thank Him for His wondrous love,
And ever marvel at His grace.
So when He calls, don’t weep for me.
I’ll be better off by far,
For in His presence I shall be,
And not resting on some star.