June 30, 1947 — March 16, 2020
In loving memory.
Harrell Ray “Hal” Phillips, 72, passed on March 16, 2020. He died peacefully with friends and family surrounding him.
Hal was born on June 30, 1947, to Melvin A. and Geraldine Phillips at St. Mary Hospital, Walla Walla. He grew up in Milton-Freewater and graduated from McLoughlin Union High School in 1965.
Shortly after high school, Hal worked for Busch Readymix Sand and Gravel, where he ascended to vice president. After 20 years Hal moved careers and served as superintendent of the Umatilla County Road Department, where he retired at 63.
As a community leader Hal was elected to the McLaughlin Unified School District Board of Directors and was an active BPOE Elks Lodge member. As an avid golfer he was a contributing member of both the M-F Golf Course and Men’s League.
Hal is survived by his children Shane Phillips, Spokane, Michael Phillips, Alaska, and Rachelle Phillips Harding, San Diego, and his brothers Arlin Phillips and Clint Phillips, both of Hermiston. He was a loving and devoted father and grandfather. Hal was preceded in death by his parents, Melvin A. and Geraldine, and his brother Glen.
Hal represented honor, integrity, and character. He was honest and always stood for what was right. Hal Ray was the real deal! Frank Millar and Carolyn Guglielmelli selflessly quarterbacked Hal’s care and relentlessly attended to his needs. As one of Hal’s lifelong friends, Frank took his care seriously and was there until the end.
His brother Arlin was his best friend and confidant. For over 70 years they were by each other’s side. From camping, fishing, traveling, and discussing politics Arlin and Hal were inseparable. Their stories of growing up could be made into a movie and the love and respect they had for each other was unbreakable.
Hal’s greatest pride was his children and he lived to be an example for them every day, including his faith in God. To his children he was a coach, a friend, a protector, and their Rock. He cherished being a grandfather, “Papa Hal,” and traveled to San Diego often to be with his granddaughters.
Hal’s other love was the great outdoors. He was a devoted fisherman and enjoyed golfing and hunting. Hal, Arlin and close friend Jon Weber spent over 20 years fishing for steelhead and salmon in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Some of Hal’s ashes were spread over his favorite fishing spots in the Columbia and Imnaha rivers.
A celebration of life will be held on Friday, July 16, at the Milton-Freewater Elks Lodge B.P.O.E. 2146. The service will begin at 11 a.m. There will be a luncheon and reception following the service.
To leave a condolence online, visit www.munsellerhode.com.