John Lee Phillips, 55, beloved son, brother, and father began a new journey with God on Friday, Dec. 21, 2007, when he died at Northern Montana Hospital in Havre following a long illness.
Funeral services will be Thursday 11 a.m. in the Dodson High School Gymnasium with burial following in Hillside Cemetery. Rosary will be recited at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Dodson today at 6:30 p.m. with a gathering and fellowship following at 7 p.m. John was born in Havre on Sept. 7, 1952, to Bud and Alice (Falcon) Phillips. When John was 8, he experienced a serious spinal injury while exercising his father’s racehorses. John attended school in Dodson. Following school, John worked at racetracks in Canada and Montana training horses and working on the starting gates. While on the racetrack, John met and married Kim Langdon of Rochester, N.Y., in November 1979 and settled in the Dodson area. Together they had a son, John Lee Phillips Jr. John had various jobs throughout the course of his life: farmer, rancher, bartender, horse trainer, assistant starter and town mower. John enjoyed the racetrack life, and considered many people on the backstretch, life long friends. He fondly remembered the good times he shared with many of them. He trained quite a few horses, but his most favorite horses trained were Patch On and Dark Venture. One of the best wins John took tremendous pride in was when he trained his father’s horse, Patch On, to win the Governor’s Handicap in Great Falls in 1977. John had major spinal surgery in 1992, due to chronic injuries suffered from his childhood riding accident. In Dodson, he took on several roles in the community, including volunteer fire dispatcher and town mower. Both jobs fit John well, as John was eventually confined to a wheel chair, and used his riding lawn mower as his main mode of transportation. John took his volunteer fire duties seriously, and was very proud of the willingness of the good people in the community who responded to the call for assistance. He also volunteered his time to the Phillips County Fair Board to organize and generate sponsorship for the reintroduction of Indian relay races now held annually at the Phillips County Fair. John kept his finger on the pulse of the Dodson community, as he had a “gift of gab,” and if one wanted to know what the current affairs were, all one had to do was give John a call. He was preceded in death by a brother, Wilbur, in September 2007, four nieces and one nephew. John is survived by his son John Phillips Jr. Of Rochester, N. Y., his parents, Bud and Alice Phillips of Dodson; siblings and their families, Jean (Doc) Eaton of Phoenix, Ariz., Dan (Penny) Phillips of Stevensville, Dave (Vivian Small) Phillips of Busby, Rich (Tina) Phillips of Billings, Judy (Dan) Simonson and Debbie (Tony Cruz) Phillips of Loring, Billie Jo Messerly of Whitewater, Helen Konkright of Kennewick, Wash., and Joyce (Leroy) Rummel of Zortman, one grandchild, numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. Arrangements are by Edwards Funeral Home of Chinook.