Walter L. Phillips Sr. of Sharon passed away peacefully of natural causes at 2:10 a.m. Wednesday (8-10-11) in Clepper Manor, Sharon. He was 86.
Mr. Phillips was born July 29, 1925, in Sharpsville, a son of Leslie J. and Mary E. Anderson Phillips.
A lifelong area resident, he graduated from Sharon High School.
A decorated veteran of World War II, he was honorably discharged on March 8, 1946, from the Army Air Force. He reached the rank of sergeant and received several medals and commendations including the American Theater Ribbon, Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal and ultimately the World War II Victory Medal.
He was employed for 40 years at the former Sharon Transformer Division of Westinghouse Electric Corp., where he was active with the International Union of Electrical Workers as a national coordinator in Washington, D.C. He devoted his life to the union and was active in the 1956 Westinghouse strike. His union career continued a lifetime; he retired at age 71.
Walter was a member of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Hermitage.
Some of his other memberships include American Legion Post 299, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1338, American Carpatho-Russian Citizens and Social Club, and Apollo-Maenerchor Club, all Sharon; and Loyal Order of Moose Lodge 55, Farrell.
Walter was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
In his younger years, nicknamed “Handlebars,” he was active in sports. He played for the Stambaugh Merchants, a semi-pro football team. He was an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
Every day and in retirement, he enjoyed all the kids, constantly teasing and kidding. He had a special place in his heart for his beloved dogs, Katie and Sammi.
He was nicknamed later by family as “The Big Guy,” and certainly the best one any family could have.
His wife, the former Doris M. Phythyon, whom he married on June 28, 1953, survives at home.
He also leaves: his three daughters, Gayle Sablack and her husband Fred; Donna Phillips and her husband Frank Veccia; and Karen James and her husband Bill; and a son, Walter L. Phillips Jr. and his wife Violet, all Sharon; a son-in-law, Fred Beil, The Villages, Fla.; and two brothers, Raymond “Pee Wee” Phillips, Canfield, Ohio; and Thomas E. Phillips, Sharon.
He leaves six grandchildren, Brooke Beinhardt, Tighe Phillips, Kara Sablack, Kylee Phillips, and Lynne and Becky Sablack; and three great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a daughter, Patti Phillips Brannon Beil; a grandson, Keith L. Brannon; three sisters, Marge Smith, and infants, Delores Jane and Donna Jean Phillips; and a brother, James “Ted” Phillips.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his memory to a charity of the donor’s choice.
Walter L. Sr., 86, Sharon.
Calling hours: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday (8-12-11) and 9:30 a.m. to time of service Saturday (8-13-11) in J. BRADLEY McGONIGLE FUNERAL HOME and CREMATORY Inc., 1090 E. State St., Sharon. Friends may e-mail condolences by visiting www.McGonigleFuneralHomeandCrematory.com.
Service: Funeral service at 10 a.m. Saturday in the funeral home chapel with the Rev. David J. Williamson, pastor of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Hermitage, officiating.
Interment: Oakwood Cemetery, Sharon, with committal prayers in Buhl Memorial Chapel.