Jack Loyce Phillips, Gladewater oilman and civic leader, passed away July 24, 2019, at his home at the age of 94. He was born February 11, 1925, in Gladewater to Inez Scarborough Phillips and Loyce Phillips, whose pioneer ancestors moved to Texas from Alabama in 1845. He graduated Gladewater High School, attended Kemper Military in Boonville, Missouri, and, during World War II, at the age of seventeen, enlisted in the United States Army Air Force. He rose in rank to Second Lieutenant, piloting B-17’s. In 1945, he enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin and joined Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. He married Barbara Wampler, also of Gladewater, on December 21, 1946. They remained in Austin until Jack received his BS degree in geology in 1949, at which time they moved back home to Gladewater. Jack joined his father in the oil and gas business, a family venture that has endured for some seventy years. He and Barbara had two daughters, Gail and Nancy.
Throughout his distinguished career, Jack discovered fourteen oil and gas fields located in Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Mississippi. For sixty-eight years, he was a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. As a member of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, he served six years as a Director and two years as a Vice-President. He was appointed to the Interstate Oil Compact Commission in 1991. He was also a member of the East Texas Geological Society. In 1987, Jack received the Dad Joiner Award as the Most Outstanding Oil Man in East Texas, given by the East Texas Producers’ and Royalty Association. He was awarded the Pelzi Award in 1994 for the most important on-shore oil discovery in North America (Mississippi). For his contributions to the oil and gas industry, The Texas Alliance of Energy Producers presented Jack their Living Legends Medal at the East Texas Oil Patch Legends Luncheon in 2009. Though not one to dwell on his honors, Jack was immensely humbled to be recognized by his peers in the oilfield. He attributed his success in the industry to the men he befriended and the camaraderie they shared. He was very proud to have his daughter, Nancy, and two of his grandsons join him at Jack L Phillips Co.
Jack called Gladewater home, but his community involvement spanned all of East Texas. He served twenty-two years as President of the Gladewater Round-Up Association and remained as a Director Emeritus on the rodeo Board. He was a director of the First State Bank of Gladewater, M-Bank of Longview, Bank One of Longview, and Regions Bank. A Thirty-Second Degree Scottish Rite Mason, Jack was Potentate of Sharon Temple in 1982 and a Director of the Jesters in Tyler. He was a Director of Southwestern Electric Power Company, a Board member and Chairman of Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview, and a member of the Board of the University of Texas Health System at Tyler, as well as the Engineering Advisory Board of the University of Texas at Tyler. A proud citizen of Gladewater, Jack was elected to the Gladewater City Commission in 1961 and served his hometown as Mayor from 1963 to 1965. On the occasion of his eightieth birthday, the City of Gladewater proclaimed February 11, 2005, as Jack L. Phillips Day. He and Barbara were members of the First United Methodist Church of Gladewater for seventy years, where Jack served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees as well as Chairman of the Finance Committee. The Gladewater Junior Chamber of Commerce named him Outstanding Young Man of Gladewater in 1964, and the Chamber of Commerce awarded him Outstanding Citizen in 1988. The Gladewater Ex-Students Association named him Outstanding Alumnus in 2002.
Jack’s lifelong love of the outdoors led him to travel to many remote and exotic locales. His knowledge of geology and wildlife were a source of pleasure, and he was ever yearning to re-visit the cradle of civilization, the continent of Africa. He took his family on safaris to numerous African countries and nurtured in them his same passion for adventure. The ranch he and Barbara cultivated in South Texas is home to over fifteen species of exotic game, some of them on an endangered list in their native lands. Jack also was a scientific breeder of native whitetail deer and quarter horses.
A friend to all and a stranger to none, his true wealth lay in his family and friends. He rarely missed an opportunity to say, “I love you,” to his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He is survived by his daughters, Gail Mizer of Austin and Nancy and her husband Mark Abernathy of Longview. He is also survived by Gail’s children, Ashley and her husband Justin Morris of Tyler, Stephen Jack Mizer and his wife Alex of Tyler, Whitney and her husband Mark Land of Tyler, and Sutton Mizer of Riviera; Nancy’s children, Leslie and her husband Burke Johnson of Denver, Clay Abernathy and his wife Jaclyn of Longview, and Claire and her husband David Henry of Longview. His outstanding great grandchildren are Hyde and Styles Morris, Stephen Jack, jr. and Clay Mizer, Stella and Mark Land, jr., Anna and Kate Johnson, Jack Madison Abernathy, and Eloise and Sarah Henry. Also surviving him are a niece, cousins, many friends, and devoted employees. He is preceded in death by his parents; sister, Lavon Phillips Philips; and his loving wife of seventy years.
A graveside service will be held at 1:30 PM Friday, July 26, 2019 at Gladewater Memorial Park Cemetery with a memorial service following at 3:00 PM at First United Methodist Church of Longview under the direction of Rader Funeral Home. Pallbearers are grandsons, grandsons-in-law, Godchild Jack Walker of Houston, and Philip Kelly Maartens of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Serving as honorary pallbearers are Lloyd Bolding, Roy Briggs, Mike Cassin, Elmer Ellis, Bruce Faulkner, Jerry Harris, Sam Litzenberg, Stephen Charles Mizer, and Bill Murphy. The family is grateful for his caregivers Loevijilda Rojas, Norma Aguillon, Rodolfo Trejo, Alicia Robinson, Constance Robinson Whitmore, Shamata Pentecost, Hospice of East Texas, and, also, his devoted encouragers Katy Bradford and Jessica Price. Should you wish, memorials may be sent to Trinity School of Texas in Longview, All Saints Episcopal School of Tyler, Hospice of East Texas, or the charity of your choice.