A Private Celebration of Life for Billy Blann “Rail” Phillips, Sr., 89, of Greenville, Mississippi, will be Wednesday, May 6, 2020, at the Greenville Cemetery. It will be officiated by Dr. Bob Sharman of First Presbyterian Church, Greenville. Arrangements are under the direction of Boone Funeral Home, Greenville.
Rail was born in Greenville, Mississippi on June 17, 1930, the youngest of five children of Paul James Phillips and Winifred Blann Phillips. After graduating from Greenville High School in 1948, Rail attended Delta State College before entering into the U. S. Navy, where he flew jets off the U.S.S. Lake Chaplain in the Korean War during a tour in 1953. Upon being honorably discharged from the Navy, Rail returned to Mississippi, attended the University of Mississippi, and later returned to Greenville to work in the family business, Queen City Furniture Company. In 1955, Rail met his wife of 64 years, Earline Brister. Rail and Earline had 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Rail was a past elder and Sunday School teacher at First Presbyterian Church, Greenville, Mississippi, and also served on and chaired multiple committees within the church and its higher councils. Rail also served his community and is a past member of the Board of Trustees of what is now Delta Regional Medical Center. Before his twilight years, Rail loved nothing more than traveling with Earline and his family, playing golf with family and friends, and attending Ole Miss sporting events.
Rail was preceded in death by his wife, Earline Brister Phillips; his parents, Paul James Phillips and Winifred Blann Phillips; and siblings Winifred P. Neyman, Martha P. Hollowell, James Dawson Phillips and Mary P. Howse. He is survived by his children, Billy Blann Phillips, Jr. (Carol) of Greenville, Laura Phillips Milam (Allen) of Greenville, Paul Scott Phillips (Angela) of Greenville, Jennifer Winn Phillips McArthur (Jim) of Greensboro, North Carolina; grandchildren, Brian Patrick Phillips (Catherine), Emily Phillips Frey (Hamilton), Blann Phillips Lutken (Poteat), Lindsey Milam Smith (Dominick), John Robert Milam (Jessica), Laura Madge Milam (Patrick), Courtney Phillips Parrish (Will), Marshall Hayden Phillips (Julie), Jordan Phillips Thomas (Evan), James Leo McArthur, III, Winn Phillips McArthur, Laura Elizabeth McArthur, Hayes Andrews McArthur; 12 great-grandchildren; and many sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nephews, nieces, grand-nieces and nephews, and great-grand nieces and nephews.
The family would like to express appreciation for Rails care-givers, Jerald Robinson, Swanickee Payne and Betty Payne, who saw to it that Rail lived his final days in comfort. Further, while circumstances with the pandemic prevent an opportunity for Rail’s expanded family, friends and church family to pay their final respects, the family would like everyone to know that their prayers and condolences have been felt. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Palmer Home for Children P.O. Box 746 Columbus, MS 39703.