Greg Phillips, beloved husband, fa-ther, brother and friend, died at Kalispell Regional Medical Center, Kalispell, Mont., on Oct. 11, 2019, surrounded by family and friends.
Greg was born in Libby, Montana, on June 21, 1946, to Ellis Bradley and Isabelle (Shipman) Phillips. He graduated from Libby High School in 1964. Greg attended Pacific Lutheran University from 1964 to 1967 before transferring to the pharmacy program at the University of Montana, where he graduated in 1971. On summer vacations during college, Greg worked for the U.S. Forest Service, Libby Ranger District trail crew, on construction of the Libby Dam and at the mill in Libby. While he was at school, he worked at Missoula White Pine Sash to pay for tuition.
Upon earning his pharmacy degree, Greg started working in Kalispell at Alton Pierce Drug store. A year later, he began working at Evergreen Pharmacy, which he later bought and operated for many years. Evergreen Pharmacy was a multipurpose store that held a post office, UPS center, liquor store, pharmacy, drug store as well as green stamp redemption center. Years later, Greg sold the pharmacy and relocated the Evergreen Liquor store to its current location on U.S. Highway 2 in Evergreen.
On July 25,1987, Greg married Carol Brandvold Smith in Kalispell. His three stepsons were beyond thrilled that their mom was marrying their beloved baseball coach, who also owned a pickup and snowmobiles.
Greg was involved in many organizations and touched many lives in the Flathead Valley. He coached baseball in Evergreen for many years and was instrumental in building the ballfields behind Flathead Electric Cooperative. Greg also coached the Rotary Babe Ruth team when his sons were playing. He was active in Lions Club, the Moose and Boy Scouts of America, where he led many scouts on 100-mile hikes in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. He was on the board of the Creston Fire district and Chain of Lakes association board. His favorite activity was mowing the baseball fields, for hours at a time, and hunting for turtles in Crystal Lake with his grandkids, nieces and nephews. He also took great pleasure in dragging kids behind the boat on Big Mable—kneeboards, waterskis, or anything else.
Greg’s final goal was finishing the baseball fields at ABS field in Evergreen. Ralph and Karen Wisher donated the land for a sports park to the Evergreen Lions Club. The Lions worked hard to build a Babe Ruth field, which was later improved by the Regulators Organization. Greg spent countless hours working on the park, mowing, leveling and persuading people to bring in materials so they could finish building three additional fields for younger kids. He always said that if he won the lottery, his first project would be hiring someone to build the fields.
Greg will be remembered most for his huge heart. He gave openly to his community, his friends and his family. Whether it was spending time listening to someone’s problems without judgment or helping people in financial crises, Greg was there. He always had a joke to tell—often inappropriate or unfunny—and teared up for emotional movies and stories. Hugs were available for people who needed one. He gave a great bear hug. He loved life. His final gift was donating his corneas so two blind people could see, skin for burn victims, and other tissues. He truly was the “Gift Who Keeps on Giving!”
Greg is survived by his wife, Carol, at the family home, and three sons, Mark Smith of Newport Richey, Fla., Jance (Misty) Phillips and Jeremy (Michelle) Phillips of Kalispell; brothers Byron (Linda) Phillips of Libby and Dale (Barb) of Omak, Wash.; step-brothers Jeff (Doreen) Gruber of Libby, and Roger Gruber of Havre; step-sisters Terri Gruber of Spokane, Wash., and Cathy (Jim) Anderson of Boise, Idaho; brother-in-law Larry (Linda) Brandvold of Fairfield, sisters-in-law Joan Schmidt, Joyce Morgan, Nancy Traner and Karen Brandvold of Great Falls.
Additionally, he is survived by 13 grandchildren: Brittney (Bryant) Plympton, McKenzie Smith, Shanay, Samantha, Rhett, Evie, and Fisher Phillips and Colton Schmidt of Kalispell, and Maddyn, Lillian, Scott and Porter Norvell of Molalla, Ore.
Last, but not least, he is survived by two great-grandchildren: Bentley and Brydger Plympton of Kalispell, and many nieces and nephews. Greg was preceded in death by his parents, Isabelle and Brad Phillips, and stepmother Joan Phillips.
A private service for the family and close friends will be held Oct. 19 at 11 a.m., at the Church of Creston, Lutheran, on Highway 35.
A celebration of Greg’s life will be held on Oct. 20, 2019, at the Kalispell Fairgrounds Expo Center, 265 N. Meridian Road, Kalispell, MT 59901, from 1 to 5 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials (monetary, labor or equipment) may be given to the ABS Baseball Field Fund in care of the Evergreen Lions, P.O. Box 3585, Kalispell, MT 59901.