Paul “Papa” Wesley Phillips

August 14, 1927 - January 19, 2021
Paul “Papa” Wesley Phillips


Mr. Paul Wesley Phillips 93, passed away Tuesday evening, January 19, 2021 at his Leland home of 52 years with his loving family surrounding his bedside.

Paul was born in Rockingham, NC on August 14, 1927 the son of the late Sipp Wesley and Rosabelle Johnson Phillips. Also preceding him in death a brother Carl Phillips and a sister Dorothy P. Williams. He retired in 1966 after 21 years in the United States Navy and was one of the last remaining few that were stationed on board the USS Battleship North Carolina. After retirement he worked civil service at Sunny Point Military Ocean Terminal for 20 years. Followed by 20 years of service at the Cameron Art Museum.

He leaves behind his loving wife of 62 years Evonne Richardson Phillips, sons Jimmy Phillips (Leslie) and David Phillips (Debbie) of Wilmington; daughter Betsy Robbe. Eight grandchildren, Shawn Phillips (Jessica), Cory Mazzola (Mary), Joshua Phillips, Michael Phillips (Kenzie) and Brooklyn Phillips, and three great grandchildren Abel, Jeremiah and Ellington Phillips. With three brothers, Harold Phillips (Sylvia), Richard Phillips (Minnie Ellen), and Jim Phillips (Lovell). As well as many nieces and nephews.

A visitation will be held at Cameron Art Museum on Friday January 22, 2021. Visitors are welcome 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM. Family will be present from 11-1 PM. Please feel free to stop in and sign the guest book and to pay final respects to Paul.

A graveside funeral service will be conducted 3:00 PM Saturday at Greenlawn Memorial Park. Full Military Honors will be given by the United States Navy. The service will be live-streamed on Wilmington Funeral & Cremations Facebook page starting at 2:55 PM.

The family suggest memorials be directed to The NC Battleship Memorial, The Cameron Arts Museum or Veterans Of Foreign Wars.

Please share memories and condolences with the family by clicking on the “Post a Condolence” tab below.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation, 1535 S. 41st Street, Wilmington NC 28403. 910.791.9099

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  • January 20, 2021
    Bren Reisch says:
    First met Paul 5 years ago when My husband and I moved into the Forks Subdivision by the CAM. What a wonderful smile and awesome knowledge of the CAM as a docent! He brightened up our mornings when we at the Forks had coffee hour on Tuesday mornings. Thank you dear Paul. RIP.

  • January 21, 2021
    Annette Justice says:
    Dear Mrs.Phillips and all your family , Each of you are in our thoughts and prayers ... Our hearts are heavy for you during this time of sadness ... Mr. Phillips has gone to live in his permanent home , Heaven ... He leaves a family behind to be proud of and carry on his honor ...Your family represents what a family should be like ... Mr. Phillips served our Country faithfully and is a hero to all who met him ... We send our neighborly and brotherly love to each of you ... May God bless and comfort you always ... Annette Justice , Ann Adams , Frances Edwards , Lawrence Whitman (neighbors of David , Debbie ,and Brooklynn)

  • January 21, 2021
    Ron Henderson, Rear Admiral USN (retired) says:
    Rest In Peace, shipmate. We have the watch.

  • January 21, 2021
    David Whitaker says:
    Papa Phillips was a kind and gentle soul.  He was the patriarch of a very caring family.  He always had the most positive advice.  His work ethic was exemplary, and his demeanor was unforgettable.  His family loved him immensely, and he had many friends.  Anyone who met him had a new friend.  We will miss him. The Whitaker Family  

  • January 22, 2021
    Rick Phillips says:
    Im gonna miss my Uncle Paul very much! He was a wonderful, great man! I always looked forward to the many family get togethers at his home when I was growing up!! He was a wonderful Uncle! A kind, loving man who served our Country well for so many years! I will always remember and love you Uncle Paul! Thank you for so many wonderful memories! Rest in Peace!