William Phillips III, 1st Lt.
Bombardier, US Air Force, WW2
323rd Bomb Group, 456th Bomb Sqaudron
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William A. "Bill" Phillips, 81, of Park Place, former Deputy Commissioner of Finance for the City of Saratoga Springs, died Saturday, March 22, 1997, at the Saratoga Hospital.
Born on March 11, 1916 in Saratoga Springs, he was the son of the late William A. and Rose M (Lawrence Phillips and was a lifelong resident.
He attended St. Peter's Academy, was a 1933 graduate of Saratoga Springs High School and in 1939 graduate of the Albany Business College where he was a four-semester member of the 100% Honor Club.
He and his family owned and operated the Phillips Newsroom, Variety and Cigar Store on Broadway for more than 40 years until it closed in 1951.
A U.S. Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, he served as a 1sr Lt., flying 65 combat missions with the 456th Squadron of the 323rd Bombardment Group in the European Theatre of Operations. As a bombardier-navigator stationed in Europe, he was the recipient of numerous medals, awards and citations, including the Presidential Unit Citation and the Air Medal with Eleven oak leaf clusters. By direction of the President of the United States, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross,, which read in part, "for the extraordinary achievement against the enemy on Dec. 25, 1944 in Germany. Although his aircraft was severely damaged and despite the hazards and difficulties encountered, he delivered accurate and devastating results with calm proficiency and unusual determination to reflect the highest credit to himself and his organization." He was awarded the Cross by the commanding general of the 9th Air Force in New York. Following his discharge in 1945 he served as captain and commander of Co. L, 105th Infantry of N.Y. National Guard at Armory of the Lake Avenue, Saratoga for three years and was a member of its Old Guard Association.
A well-known area high school baseball catcher and basketball player, he later played in the city's Twilight league and also for the Saratoga Athletics baseball and University club basketball teams. An accredited basketball referee, he officiated on both high school and collegiate levels and at the city's Convention Hall on Broadway for numerous games, including the Harlem Globetrotters basketball games. He was a former member of the McGregor Country Club.
He was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Finance for the city of Saratoga Springs for 29 years, retiring in 1974 after serving under four different commissioners and was deputy treasurer for the city school district. He was honored by the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials for 25 years of continuous service in 1970. He Was also employed in the money room of the pari-mutual department of the Saratoga Harness track for 26 years until 1978.
He was an honorary life member of the class of 1946 Saratoga B.P.O. Elks Lodge 161 and served as judge for the 1954 N.Y. State Elks Association and Lodge Convention Parade held in Syracuse, a life member of the Gurtler Bros. Post 420 Veterans of Foreign Wars and a member of the Administrative Employees Association. He was a honorary life member, former treasurer and 56 year third degree member of the Saratoga Council 246 Knights of Columbus and a m,ember of Saratoga Assembly 0745 Knights of Columbus Forth Degree. He was a charter member and former treasurer of both the Saratoga Colombian Association and Circle 98 of Colombian Squires. He was a charter member, past president and member of the board of governors of the Saratoga Springs Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Society and was one of five surviving charter members honored at this year's 45th anniversary dinner on March 17, 1997. He served as the first treasurer of NYRA Saratoga Fair Association in 1975 and was member of th4e B-26 Historical Society and Archive at the University of Akron, Ohio and the Empire State Aerosciences Museum and Center for Education in Scotia. An avid thoroughbred horse racing fan, he spent each August as a patron of the backstretch and enjoyed the history of Saratoga Springs.
A member of the Church of St. Peter, he was a former usher and served as auditor of the parish DDP (Bishop's Appeal) for many years. An active supporter of Catholic education, he was a member and long time treasurer of St. Peter's Athletic Association and chaired numerous fundraisers and athletic sports banquets for the school. He volunteered ion the city's Little League baseball board and coached several little league teams.
He was predeceased by his wife, Marion R. (Tompkins) Phillips on June 21, 1996; one son, William F. Phillips on April 15, 1995, four brothers, Walter J., Paul J., John F., and Eugene E. Phillips; and one sister, Dorothy M. Carroll, all of Saratoga Springs.
He is survived by two daughters, Mary Lynn Cimon of Kinderhook, and Carol A. Magrath of Quincy, Mass., three sons, J. Paul Phillips and Mark T. Phillips, both of Saratoga Springs and Michael G. Phillips of Gansevoort; two sisters, Miss Helen E. Phillips and Mrs. Mary Murry, both of Saratoga Springs; 11 grandchildren, one great-grandson; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 AM Tuesday (March 25) at the Church of St. Peter, Saratoga Springs.
Burial with military honors will follow in the family plot at St. Peter's Cemetery, West Avenue.