In memoriam: Emeritus missionary Eslie Phillips Jr., 93

Eslie Phillips Jr.

Dr. Eslie Phillips Jr., an emeritus International Mission Board missionary who shared the gospel among American Peoples in Colombia, died April 6, 2019. He was 93.

Phillips was born to Eslie R. Phillips Sr. and Myrtle J. Phillips on March 2, 1926, and raised in New Church, Virginia, on the Eastern Shore. His formal ministry began at age 17 and extended well beyond conventional retirement to age 90.

He received a bachelor’s degree in religion from the University of Virginia. He also earned a master of divinity degree and a doctorate of ministry from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served as pastor in multiple churches including Oak Chapel, Horntown Baptist, Swallowfield, First Baptist Charlottesville, First Baptist Rocky Mount, Aulander Baptist, Downtown Baptist Alexandria, Grove Avenue Baptist, West End Baptist and Talbot Park Baptist. Phillips and his wife, Zelle, were appointed as Southern Baptist missionaries in 1986, serving at The Baptist Chapel in Bogota, Columbia.

“We are excited about the new and continuing ministries in the Bogota Baptist Chapel,” Phillips wrote in a newsletter during his missionary service. “In April we began experiencing God on Wednesday evenings which is a fantastic study in the life series. Zelle started another section of ‘making peace with your past’ and a new study search for significance. We cannot say enough good things about these studies. We rejoice that many lives are being touched.”

After their retirement from the mission field, the Phillipses served as missionaries-in-residence and spoke at churches about missions.

Phillips is survived by his wife of 67 years, Gazelle Moore Phillips; three children: E. Rolland Phillips III and his wife, Teresa, Kristin Joy Phillips, and Nathan Jeter Phillips and his wife, Jane; two grandsons, Isaac Garland Phillips and his wife, Bethany, and Andrew (Andy) Paul Phillips; and great-granddaughter Kinley Rae.

Read an obituary here.