Donald Phillips

Final Resting Place

Woodlawn National Cemetery
1825 Davis St.
Elmira, New York, United States

Obituary of Donald M. Phillips

Donald M. Phillips, age 92 of Odessa, NY (formerly of Cayuta, NY) winged his way to heaven on January 30, 2023. Don was born in Elmira, NY to Merrill and Leona (Morrell) Phillips. He graduated from Horseheads High School. Don was a Sergeant in the US Army from 1948-51 and served honorably as a radio operator. During that time, he purchased his own plane, learned to fly, and used that as his primary transportation between the base in Fort Eustis, VA and home. After his discharge, Don worked for a short time at Anchor Glass before he started his lifelong career at Westinghouse (and ultimately IST after Westinghouse was sold) as a chemist/engineer. In his early years at Westinghouse, he met his future wife, Bertha Bly. They married in 1954, moved to Cayuta, and started raising their family of four children. Don loved and respected the outdoors and instilled that passion in his family. Some of the most memorable family moments came as they drove around the back roads of Connecticut Hill in his beloved army jeep, often stopping to skip stones in a pond, pick wild blueberries, hike a stream, or teach pistol shooting techniques and safety rules to his children. Don was an avid target shooter and for many years was an active member of the Odessa Conservation Club's pistol team. Always one for promoting and practicing gun safety, for several years he co-taught target shooting skills to middle and high school students in the Junior Rifle Club. Fun-loving, humorous and young at heart, Don's zest for life was contagious. He enjoyed lots of adventures and jokes with his grandchildren, being the biggest "kid" in the group. There were hikes on Connecticut Hill, kayaking on the Chemung River, egg toss games at the annual picnic breakfast in the Hector Land Use Area, squirt-gun battles, snowball fights, hiding irritating gifts in places where the grandkids wouldn't expect to find them (beds, dresser drawers), conducting a "gravity" experiment with hard boiled eggs and then substituting raw eggs, discreetly planting flakes of gold in their mining tins while panning for gold in Valdez, Alaska (creating a mini gold rush among the tourists when the kids started screaming they'd found gold), and placing in his yard a potato chip bag with a movement ball hidden inside and a raccoon's tail sticking out for the grandchildren to discover. Just a few of the great memories left by a great man. Don loved flying. After starting his family, however, he sold his airplane to buy a house, but the love of flying still ran deep in his veins. He started building and flying radio control airplanes and sailplanes. He became a volunteer member at what was then called the National Warplane Museum. While there, he helped rebuild and restore several vintage airplanes, and in later years he helped keep the museum grounds groomed. He was always very precise and paid great attention to detail in all he did, whether work or play. "No job is worth doing unless it's done right" was the motto by which he lived. In addition to being a member of the Odessa Conservation Club and pistol team, Don was a member of the Bath pistol team, American Legion Post 676, the National Warplane Museum/Wings of Eagles Discovery Center, and several RC airplane flying clubs. Don was predeceased by his parents and his beloved wife, Bertha, after almost 60 years of marriage. He was also predeceased by his youngest daughter, Sharon Douglas (Scott) Wheeler in 2019, and his son-in-law, Thomas Peters, in 2022. He is survived by his daughter, Carol Peters, of Odessa, and sons, Marc Phillips (Anne Morris) of Anchorage, AK, and Daniel (Daneen) Phillips of Burdett, NY. Don had six grandchildren of whom he was immensely proud: Nicholas (Amanda) Phillips, Jennifer (Patrick) Frymark, Samantha (Alva) Greist, Johnathan Wasson (Lindsey Wratten), and Olivia and Andrea Douglas, as well as six great grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, MaryEllen (John) Ford and brother, Arland (Beverly) Phillips, many nieces and nephews, and his best buddy - canine companion Maggie - who will miss him very much but will continue to keep his daughter company. Don and his family would like to acknowledge and thank Dr. Saks and the dedicated staff at Schuyler Hospital for the excellent care they provided during his brief stay. Their attention and compassion made a traumatic situation less so. When remembering this tough time, their kindness, support and thoughtfulness will not be forgotten. At Don's request, there will be no calling hours. Instead, a celebration of his life will be scheduled at a later date. Don will be interred at Woodlawn National Cemetery with military honors. Anyone wishing to pay tribute to Don's memory is encouraged to donate to a charity of their choice. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Vedder-Scott & Zinger Funeral Home, Montour Falls, NY. To leave the family a message of condolence, please visit
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