Lakeland, FL — Ralph Franklin Phillips, age 74, departed this world for heaven as a true believer and follower of Jesus Christ on June 2, 2018 at Lakeland Memorial Hospital surrounded by his loving family.
Mr. Phillips is survived by his devoted wife, of 55 years, Donna Lyn Phillips of Lakeland, FL, his beloved mother, Marilyn Olive Phillips of Owings, MD; his sister, Jeannette M. Krause of Owings, MD; and his brother, Charlie B. Phillips of Greensboro, MD. He is also survived by two daughters: Olive Sharon Berg (Thomas F. Berg, Jr.) of Bowie, Maryland and Deborah L. Phillips of Mulberry, Florida. In addition, he is survived by three grandchildren, Lindsay Christine Phillips of Lakeland, FL; Zachary Thomas Berg of Frederick, MD; and Stephanie Nicole Berg of San Francisco, CA. In addition, he is survived by two great-grandchildren, Olivia Faith Webster of Bel Air, MD and Matthew Thomas Berg of Bowie, MD. He is preceded in death by his father, Russell Burton Phillips of Churchton, MD, his brother Russell Burton Phillips Jr. of Churchton, MD and grandson, Anthony Jared Toppi of Lakeland, FL.
Ralph is a veteran of the Vietnam War. He served in the United States Navy as an Electronics Technician First Class, for 10 years, on three generations of nuclear submarines. He then went on to serve in the Navy Reserve for another 36 years – earning the highest rank for an enlisted sailor: Chief Petty Officer. The dedication and patriotism he learned in the Navy never left him, as friends and family will attest. In testimony of his strong work ethic and devotion to providing for his family, he also retired from the Federal Government under the Architect of the Capitol in Washington, DC. as an Electronics Technical Specialist.
He began his life in Bradbury Heights, MD, the first-born son of Russell Burton and Marilyn Olive Phillips. The family moved to a farm in 1953, to Churchton, MD, where he was raised, until joining the Navy in 1962. During a vacation to Lakeland, Florida, Ralph and his wife, Donna Lyn determined that Lakeland would be a nice place to retire. Although a transplant, Ralph never failed to extol the beauty and benefits of living in Florida and especially, Lakeland. He loved to garden and the climate provided a year round opportunity for him to pursue this hobby. He also enjoyed a lifelong pursuit of higher education, was an avid listener and collector of many genres of music, a great fan of science fiction literature, had an active interest in politics; never shy about calling his representatives and participating in pro-life rallies, and a prolific user of the Lakeland Library system. Other hobbies that he greatly enjoyed are philately and numismatics.
Services will be held Wednesday, June 6, at 10am at Highland Park Church of the Nazarene, Lakeland, FL, and he will be interred with military honors at US. Department of Veterans Affairs – Florida National Cemetery.