Funeral, viewing arrangements planned for Merle Phillips
SUNBURY - The viewing and funeral of former state Rep. Merle Phillips will be held Friday and Saturday at the Emmanuel Bible Fellowship Church, located at 967 Mile Hill Road.
State Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-108) announced Tuesday that Phillips' family will receive friends from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and again from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday.
The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, said Culver.
Phillips, who served in the state legislature for 30 years before a 13-month stint as Northumberland County Commissioner in his retirement, passed away Monday at the age of 85.
He was a resident of Upper Augusta Township and is survived by his wife, Helen; his children, Sandra, Jane, Michael, Christine and Lorri; 12 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and a brother, Fred and his wife, Lauratta Phillips.
A former U.S. Marine and owner of Irish Valley Food Processing, Phillips was best known for representing the residents of the 108th State Legislative District, first winning the seat in a special election in 1980, then being re-elected 15 times before his retirement in 2010.
During his tenure in the House, Phillips served as Republican caucus administrator, Republican chairman and vice chairman of the Game and Fisheries Committee, secretary of the Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee, and as a member of Transportation and Appropriations Committee.
A veteran of the Korean War, he served in the U.S. Marines and was a staunch advocate for veterans' issues. He also supported sportsmen's issues and helped lead the fight against the tolling of Interstate 80.
He retired from the legislature in 2010, but that retirement lasted about four days; he was chosen among 25 candidates to fill the county commissioner seat of Kurt Masser, who won election to the state legislature in the 107th district.
At the end of his time in the county seat, Phillips revealed that he was battling myeloma, a form of blood cancer.
Culver was elected to replace Phillips in the state government.