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updated: Mar 17, 2012, 10:34 AM
By Welch Ryce Haider
Bob Phillips died peacefully at home on March 3 after battling cancer for several years. He was born in Guernsey, Wyoming in 1925, but at age two, his family moved to Santa Barbara.
After graduating from SBHS in 1943, he entered the US Army, serving in the Pacific Theatre (notably Noumea, New Caledonia, New Hebrides and Okinawa) as a Sergeant Major. In addition to his regular duties in the Engineering Construction Battalion, he played trombone in the Battalion's dance band, which entertained weekly for the troops and in special USO productions.
After completing his Army service, Bob attended UCSB on the GI Bill and then went on to obtain his Doctorate of Optometry in Chicago. He returned to Santa Barbara, married Bernice Jelle, his beloved wife of 61 years, and maintained a successful optometric practice until his retirement at age 62. During that span, he and his wife raised two children.
Bob's primary interests apart from his family and profession included community service, travel, music and gardening. Bob was active in the Trinity Lutheran Church and the Downtown Lions Club for decades. He first took his entire family to tour the Orient and, since then, he and his wife Bernice have shared trips to all parts of the world. Upon his retirement, his love of music remanifested as a trombonist in two senior bands, the Prime Time Band and the Dixie Daddies.
Counted among his immediate family, Bob is survived by his sister Dorothy Thorpe, his wife Bernice, his children Gary and Kori and his grandchildren Peter, Noah, Alex and Alina.
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