In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Gene Allen Phillips, 85

Gene Phillips, 1935-2020

Gene Allen Phillips, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among the European Affinity Peoples in France, died Sept. 3, 2020, at his home in Huntersville, N.C. He was 85.

He was born Jan. 7, 1935, in Murray, Kentucky, to the late Fred and Eurah Parks Phillips. Phillips received the Bachelor of Arts from Baylor University, Waco, Texas; and the Bachelor of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. At seminary, he met Jacqueline Freeman, a religious education student. They were married in June 1961, the same month he graduated.

Phillips was an ordained minister and served in the ministry from the time he was a college student. His service included as a college minister at Meredith College, Raleigh, North Carolina; associate pastor, Forest Hills Baptist Church, Raleigh; an associate with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina; and pastor of the Guilford Baptist Church, Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Hebron (Ky.) Baptist Church.

He wrote when seeking missionary appointment, “While encouraging students to do mission work, I too felt impressed to ‘Go and teach all nations.’”

In 1973, the International Mission Board appointed Gene and Jackie as missionaries to France. During their 24 years as missionaries, they learned French and built a church in Bordeaux that continues to serve the community today. According to the family, in France Gene and Jackie worked with and helped thousands of people. He performed countless weddings, baptisms and services throughout his years. Everywhere he went, they said, he tried to make a difference in people’s lives.

Upon his return from France, Phillips worked with senior adults at Green Street Baptist Church of High Point, North Carolina, and First Baptist Church of Huntersville. While at Green Street Baptist Church, he worked with 750 senior adults and made over 1,300 hospital visits and many visits to nursing homes and the homebound.

Jackie died in 2015.

Phillips is survived by three sons, Steve Phillips (Susan) of Alexandria, Virginia, Stan Phillips (Valerie) of Davidson, North Carolina, and Getachew Giorgis (Abeba) of Raleigh; a brother David Phillips (Pam) of Gulf Shores, Alabama; and two grandchildren.

A private service was held Sept. 5, 2020, in the chapel of James Funeral Home, Huntersville, with burial following at First Baptist Church of Huntersville.

Read an obituary here.