School 14

James W Phillips

August 21, 1938 ~ November 18, 2019 (age 81)


James Weldon (“Jim”) Phillips, passed away peacefully on November 18, 2019, in Westfield.  He was 81 years old.  The son of James Weldon Phillips, Sr. and Mary Phillips of Prospect Park, PA, Jim was the older brother of Susan and Maryln. Jim was born on August 21, 1938, in Ridley Park, PA. He graduated from Interboro High School in Prospect Park, after which he enrolled at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. At Dickinson, Jim met his future bride, Elizabeth, and they were married on August 31, 1963. He taught at the Baltimore Public School District and then the Wallingford/Swarthmore School District from 1961-1967. After completing his master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1966, Jim received a faculty appointment at Westfield State University in 1967, where he taught for over forty years and served as head of the Department of Biology. During his tenure, Jim also completed his doctorate at the University of Massachusetts in December of 1978. Upon his retirement in 2005, until 2012, Jim served as a Lake Steward to the Western Massachusetts Lakes and Ponds Association, conducting water quality studies. He wrote the Canoeing Guide to Stanley Park, and he also served on the Westfield Conservation Commission and as head of the Westfield Flood Commission. In his free time, Jim enjoyed fishing, woodworking, hiking, model trains, boating, painting, playing piano, and cheering on the Eagles. He was passionate about playing basketball in high school and college, and always enjoyed watching games. He loved to travel and enjoyed trips throughout the U.S. and all over the world, including India, China, Costa Rica, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, and countries throughout Europe. He often cracked dry jokes, with a twinkle in his eye. Jim was devoted to his family. He is survived by his loving wife of over fifty years, Elizabeth; daughter, Corinne, of State College, PA and her husband, Victor, and their children Ryan, Julia, and Matthew; son, Tyler, of Philadelphia, PA, and his wife Sheetal; sister, Maryln, of Greensburg, PA, her husband, William, and their children Gina and Lisa; and brother-in-law, Knut of Centreville, VA, his wife, Sunny, and their son Maurice. He is predeceased by his sister, Susan. Jim’s family will receive friends on Sunday, November 24, 2019, from 2-4 PM at the Firtion-Adams Funeral Home at 76 Broad Street in Westfield. A celebration of Jim’s life will be held on Monday, November 25, 2019, at 11:45 AM, at the Interfaith Chapel of Westfield State University. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Jim’s memory may be made to CurePSP at

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November 24, 2019

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Firtion - Adams Funeral Svc (Broad Street, Westfield Massachusetts)

Funeral Service
November 25, 2019

11:45 AM
Westfield State University
Western Avenue
Westfield, MA 01085

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