Ruth O. Phillips

Published 5:40 pm Saturday, December 25, 2010

Franklin – Leona Ruth Olliff Phillips, 89, widow of William Alexander “Red” Phillips, passed away December 23, 2010 at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital . Born and raised in Georgia , Mrs. Phillips was a daughter of the late Stephen Chester and Jessie Flanders Olliff, and was predeceased by two sisters, Martha Andrews and Jessie Rawls; one brother, Will Olliff, and a grandson, Mike Ballard.

Mrs. Phillips was a graduate of Wesleyan College in Georgia and was a former cartographer during World War II while her husband served his country in Europe. She was a former teacher at King William High School and Southampton High School. After retiring from education she gave service to her community by volunteering with the Southampton Memorial Hospital Auxillary.  She was very active at the YMCA and won numerous National Senior Olympics medals in swimming.  She was a longtime member of High Street United Methodist Church where her contributions and talents and can be seen every year as the Chrismon tree shines.  Mrs. Phillips spent her life learning many trades through family and friends.  She enjoyed painting fine china, crafting rare and exquisite eggs, and designing and building furniture with her husband.

Left to cherish her memory are her daughter, Allene P. Atkinson and husband Mike; son, Stephen K. Phillips and wife Nancy and son, William Alexander Phillips Jr. and wife Celeste, all of Franklin; a brother-in-law, Jake Rawls of Georgia.  She is also survived by the pride and joy of her life, her six grandchildren; Michalene Atkinson Bauer and husband Tim, Phillip Atkinson and wife Kendra, Ashley Atkinson, Scott Phillips, Brian Phillips, Lorrie Coggsdale; and her two great-grandchildren, Rease Bauer and Gage Bauer.

A funeral service celebrating her life will be held at 11 am Tuesday, December, 28, 2010 at the High Street United Methodist Church with the Rev. Susan Reaves and the Rev. Edward C. Johnson officiating. Internment will follow at Poplar Spring Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 7 to 8:30 pm Monday at Wright Funeral Home, Franklin, and other times at Allene and Mike’s home, 108 Woodland Circle, as well as Steve and Nancy’s home, 9 Crescent Drive.  The family suggests memorials be made to the High Street United Methodist Church Building Fund, P. O. Box 218, Franklin, Va. 23851.

The family would like to give special thanks Dr. Jay Collins, Dr. Rich Redlinger, and the nursing staff at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.