Judge John Taylor Phillips died on June 15, 2012 and left this world to fly to worlds unknown to meet his Savior.
J. Taylor Phillips was born in Greenville, SC on August 20, 1921. His wife, the former Mary Elizabeth Parrish of Eastman, GA, survives him as do his three daughters, all of Macon, GA: Mary Susan Phillips, Linda Lea Phillips Dannelly (Lee), JulIa Taylor Phillips Manard (Tom) and his two grandchildren, Ben and Ryan Manard. His son, John Allen Phillips, is deceased, and his parents, Walter Dixon Phillips and Mattie Sue Taylor Phillips, are also deceased.
J. Taylor Phillips graduated from Miami High School in Miami, FL but spent most of his adolescence in Americus, GA and Augusta, GA. After serving in the Marine Corps during World War II and the Korean Conflict, Taylor graduated from Glenville State College in West Virginia, and earned his Juris Doctor degree from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in Macon, GA. Later in life, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Asbury College in Wilmore, KY for his exemplary service in both the legal profession and church service. Judge Phillips also served in the Georgia House of Representatives two terms, from 1959 – 1962, and in the Georgia State Senate one term, from 1963 – 1964 where he was instrumental in crafting laws conducive to furthering education and fostering better living conditions for Georgians.
Before assuming his seat as judge of the State Court of Bibb County, where he served thirty-five years, from 1964 – 1999, Judge Phillips practiced law in Macon for ten years. During his lengthy tenure as judge, he also was actively involved in educating law students at the Walter F. George School of Law, and from 1968 – 1999 he served as director of Trial Practice Procedure. He was president of the State Court Trial Judges and Solicitors Association of Georgia from 1972 – 1973 and a member and chair of the Judicial Qualifications Commission for ten years – 1982 – 1992. He was a member of the Macon Bar Association and the State Bar of Georgia. After his retirement from the bench, he served as Senior Judge for the State of Georgia up to the time of his death.
Not only was Judge Phillips active in the legal sphere, but his service to his community and his church was extensive. He was a member of the Lions Club and a Scottish Rite Mason and Shriner. He served as president of the United Cerebral Palsy of Macon and Middle Georgia and National Vice President of United Cerebral Palsy from 1971 – 1973. He was president of the Georgia Council of Moral and Civic Concerns for over twenty years. He provided financial support to the United Methodist Children’s Home in Macon, and he sponsored children in need around the world. He gave generously to the United Methodist Church, not only with faithful giving to Mulberry Street United Methodist Church, his local church, but also to two United Methodist retreat centers – Epworth-by-the-Sea on St. Simons Island in Georgia and Lake Junaluska in North Carolina. Judge Phillips also served as a trustee for Epworth and Lake Junaluska, as well as Asbury College in Wilmore, KY and Magnolia Manor in Americus, GA. He provided leadership to Good News Television, serving as president of Macon Urban Ministries of Good News TV. He served as a lay leader, Chairman of the Administrative Board, certified lay speaker, and adult Sunday School teacher at Mulberry United Methodist Church. He was lay leader for the Macon District of the United Methodist Church from 1972 – 1980 and South Georgia Conference Lay Leader from 1980 – 1988. He was president of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Lay Leaders from 1983 – 1985. He was a delegate to the General and Jurisdictional conferences of the United Methodist Church ten times, rendering forty years of dedicated service, and was a member of several general boards of the UMC.
A memorial service will be held at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church in Macon, GA, on Wednesday, June 20, at 2:00 p.m. with Rev. Tommy Mason and Rev. John Carroll officiating. Visitation immediately follows in the Fellowship Hall. Burial will be private. Donations may be made to any charity, but for those who wish, a scholarship account in his name exists to help students enrolled in Mercer’s law school. If interested, direct your donation to the J. Taylor Phillips Scholarship fund at the Walter F. George School of Law, Mercer University, Macon, GA. The family may be reached at the residence.
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