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Milton J. Phillips was born January 1, 1926 in Tillamook, OR to William S. and Elizabeth (Zuercher) Phillips and passed away at home on March 8, 2020 at the age of 94. He graduated from Tillamook High School in 1944, where he wrestled and played football. He served in the US Navy during WWII as a gunner’s mate on the USS Braxton.

During his time in the Navy, he wrestled and won many awards. He was very proud to have been in Tokyo Bay when the armistice was signed. He was able to see the signing from his ship across the bay, through binoculars. He landed in Nagasaki, Japan after the nuclear bombing and walked through the damage, not knowing the radiation risk.

After the war, he returned home to marry the love of his life, Bethel Duerfeldt on April 6, 1947 at the Methodist Church in Bay City, Oregon. They would have been married 73 years next month. Together, they had three children, Jim Phillips, Dan Phillips and Sue Phillips-Meyer.

Milton worked for Dolan Construction, then O&S transport for 32 years. He owned and operated his own log truck until he retired in 1989. He volunteered with the Tillamook Anglers at the Whiskey Creek Fish Hatchery and the Tillamook Food bank for a number of years. He was a member of the Methodist church, Tillamook Anglers, and the Tillamook Pioneer Association.

Milton looked forward to weekly lunch with friends at South Prairie store. He loved watching all sports, but especially Tillamook High school basketball and Blazer games. He was a master at fishing, hunting and clam digging and enjoyed doing those things often, especially with his family. Milton’s favorite pastime was being with his family, who will miss his wonderful stories, picture sharing, hand squeezes and candy from his shirt pocket.

He will be greatly missed but remembered with love and smiles.

Milton is survived by his wife Bethel of Tillamook; children: Jim and Cathy Phillips of Lebanon, Dan and Cindy Phillips of Tillamook, Joe and Sue Meyer of Tillamook; grandchildren: Fred and Wendy Phillips, Sarah and Gaylon Curran, Michael and April Phillips, Michael and Megan Lofton, Heather Phillips, Jacob and Beth Phillips, Joshua and Cara Phillips, Trever and Kiffanie Phillips, Joe Meyer and Trent Meyer; great-grandchildren: Grace, Vance, LJ, Lana, Syian, Eva, Naomi, Claire, Lauren, Rachel, Branden, Lily, Bella, Abigail and Madelyn; sister-in-law June Phillips of Eugene, Oregon and many cousins. Milton is preceded in death by his brother William S. Phillips.

Memorial contributions can be made to Tillamook Anglers, Tillamook Pioneer Association or the Methodist Church. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

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