John's Story

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John Richard Phillips, "Dick", died peacefully on Saturday February 11th at 1:25pm in the afternoon surrounded by family members. He was 82, having been born February 17th, 1934 in Portland Oregon to Merrill Wellington Phillips and May Eugenia (Johnson) Phillips.

Dick married Sharon Kay Pruitt on October 23, 1953. They had 5 children between 1955 and 1962 while finishing Dick's Doctorate degree after a stint in the Army during the Korean War.

His career interests were in the budding computer field, but because there was no degree program for this at the time, he received his Ph.D in Mathematics in 1966 from Oregon State University. His thesis was on "Eigenfunction expansions for self-adjoint bilinear operators in Hilbert space".

He worked for Livermore Radiation Labs in California, as a professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois, at the National Science Foundation in Washington DC, and as the Chairman of the Computer Science Department at Oklahoma State University. He was also entrepreneurial, and ended his career as the CEO of TMS, Inc. in Stillwater, Oklahoma where he pioneered the computer applications of laser disc technology, among other things. After retiring, he kept busy remodeling two different vacation residences on the coast of Oregon.

He was an intelligent man, diligent and thorough in his work. However, he will mostly be remembered by family and friends as a kind, humble, and gentle man of faith. In the summer of 1973, when he was a professor at the University of Illinois, Dick and his wife Sharon, had a spiritual awaking to the reality of a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Their lives, and the lives of their children, were significantly changed from that point forward. His faith in God and time in prayer with Him and hearing Him through the Scriptures, changed him and was a strong foundation that sustained him all the way through the end.

The service to remember, honor, and celebrate Dick's life and impact on family and friends will be Wednesday, February 15th at 10am. The service be at Schaudt's funeral home in Tulsa Oklahoma at 5757 Memorial Drive. Interment will be later, at Fort Gibson National Cemetery in Muskogee County. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in the memory of John Richard Phillips to The Navigators, a Christian Organization that impacted Dick and family. Arrangements are entrusted to Schaudt's Tulsa Funeral Service. Family and friends may send memories and condolences to the family, online at www.schaudtfuneralservice.com.
Published on February 13, 2017
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