Editor's Note: This is the 14th in a series of weekly articles on individuals, who made positive contributions to Stephenville, the Cross Timbers area and/or the State of Texas. Many other noteworthy individuals, other than those in this series, have made their “mark” in this area. Perhaps some of these persons can be included in future stories. Thanks to Rev. Mark Hanna, Chaplain at Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital, Lacy Funeral Home and Vicky Swam and Diane Rodriguez in the president's office at Tarleton State University for their assistance.
By STUART CHILTON
Perhaps one of the most kind persons ever to live in Stephenville is today's featured individual.
He spent 72 years working at the same place. During those seven decades, he performed many kind deeds that were often beyond the “call of duty.”
He was born Jan. 25, 1908, in Stephenville. His public school education was in Stephenville and Fort Worth, where he graduated from I.M. Terrell High School. On Sept. 14, 1926, he began working at the Stephenville Hospital, and for the next 72 years he hospital was his home. He was one of the first persons employed at the hospital.
Although he never attended college, he would often voice his thoughts on education in this manner, “I believe whole-heartedly that each individual was put on this earth for a purpose, and they must take every opportunity to improve themselves.”
His inspiration and devotion to patients and the hospital were traits many Stephenville citizens never forgot.
He married to Ada Wesley Jones on March 1, 1934. She died March 15, 1989, at the age of 73. The couple had one daughter, who now lives in Austin.
In 1992, at the age of 84, he “officially” retired from the hospital; however, the next day, he showed up as a volunteer, working three days a week.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton recognized his 72 years of service at the local hospital with a certificate.
On the eve of his 95th birthday in 2003, the local hospital created a scholarship fund in his name. Numerous scholarships have been awarded to students seeking professions in health-care related fields.
On January 24, 2005, Mayor John Moser designated that date as this individual's day in the city with this citation - “… for a life that has exhibited the attributes of honesty, intelligence, candor, fairness and compassion.”
Six months later in June, the Erath County Bar Association recognized him, making him an honorary member of the local bar association.
He was a member of the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce, the local Kiwanis Club and a number of other organizations.
Perhaps two of the most memorable events in his 98 years came in 2005, when Tarleton State University conferred upon him an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. At his graduation, he was the commencement speaker. His speech centered on a poem he frequently recited in high school. A number of persons in attendance, praised his speech as being moving and inspirational.
Efforts are presently underway to designate Graham St. as a memorial highway in his honor. He died here on March 14, 2006.
A Name to Remember - Dr. Carl Alexander Phillips.
Dr. Chilton, a retired educator/journalist, lives in Stephenville. He occasionally writes for this newspaper.