Brigadier General Eugene Phillips Dies at 97

Phillips stands with Royston Mayor David Jordan and City Council during award presentation Tuesday night.

Phillips stands with Royston Mayor David Jordan and City Council during award presentation last March.

Visitation is scheduled for this evening for Royston’s first City Manager, Brig. Gen. Eugene Phillips, U.S. Army Ret.

Phillips died Christmas Day following a brief illness at the home of his son in Fairfax, VA.

Gen. Phillips was born in Canon, GA on Nov. 26th, 1917.  He grew up in Franklin County and graduated from Royston High School as class valedictorian in 1935.

After graduating from the University of Georgia in 1939 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, Phillips was commissioned as a second lieutenant, Cavalry, U.S. Army.  Prior to volunteering for active duty in World War II, he worked for the Atlanta Journal and other newspapers.

Following World War II he served as an information officer at the Nuremburg War Crimes trials, worked for a time with the State Department in Burma and then joined the staff of the Milwaukee Journal.  He later also worked for the Associated Press before serving again on active duty.

In 1968, Phillips was promoted to brigadier general serving the Office of the Chief of Information for the Army.   He retired after a 34-year career in 1973.

His military awards include the Legion of Merit and the French Croix de Guerre. In all, he traveled to some 30 countries.

After retiring, Gen. Phillips and his wife returned to Royston in 1983, where he became involved in a number of civic and community activities and served as Royston’s first city manager from 1990-1992.

In March, Phillips was honored by the Royston Rotary Club and the City of Royston for his years of service to his country and his community.

And the City of Royston also presented Phillips with a black marble service award reflecting his lifelong contribution to his community and to his country. 

“It’s really hard to express the appreciation the City of Royston has for your service to your country and the City,” Jordan said. “The City Council and I have commissioned an award. It’s the General Eugene Phillips Public Service Award. General Phillips, we want to thank you for your years of service and dedication.”

The black marble award stands about two feet tall and carries a portrait of the General during his service in World War II.

In presenting the award to Phillips, Jordan said Phillips is the first of many Royston City employees who will receive the award every year.

“This is dedicated to those City of Royston employees who have dedicated their lives to excellence in public service,” Jordan explained. “What we want to do is as the years progress is, we’re going to give this award to people in your name.”

In 2008, Phillips was named the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year.

Funeral services for General Phillips will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, at Zidon Baptist Church in Royston.  Brigadier General Eugene Phillips was 97.