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Dave Phillips

May 11, 1942 ~ November 20, 2022 (age 80)



Stanley Davis Phillips died peacefully on November 20th, 2022 at his beloved family home, Valleyfields Farm, with his family by his side. Dave was the second son of the late Earl Norfleet and Lillian Jordan Phillips, and was born in High Point on May 11th, 1942.

Dave lived a full and proud life of service to others in business, government, philanthropy, and education. He left an indelible mark on his family, friends, and community.

Suffering an early amputation of his left leg, he took this condition not as a disadvantage but rather as a challenge to overcome to help make a difference in the world around him. Following a path set by his entrepreneurial father, Dave achieved success as a businessman. He founded, led, and grew several local High Point companies. Among them was Market Square, built with partners George Lyles and Jake Froelich. It has since become a major international furnishing center, now the sixth largest building in the United States on the National Register of Historic Places. He eventually sold his businesses to New York Stock Exchange listed companies (Phillips Mills, Inc. to Culp, Inc; Phillips Factors, Inc. to BB&T Corporation; and Market Square Partnership to Merchandise Mart/Vornado, which is now part of Blackstone.) At the time of his death, Dave was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Phillips Industries, Inc.

In the public service arena, Dave served as the North Carolina Secretary of Commerce under Governor James B. Hunt. He was also Chairman of the five-year effort to host the 1999 Special Olympics World Games in North Carolina. The event featured 7,000 athletes from 150 countries, with U.S. Olympians transported to the event in the largest peacetime airlift in history. Dave stated often that this was one of the most important initiatives he had ever been involved with.

As a member of the North Carolina Department of Transportation Board, Dave was instrumental in bringing to fruition the long-awaited 311 Bypass Project (now I-74) and in delivering funding from the state for the renovation of the Southern Railway Passenger Depot Station. He felt passionately that this latter project would give his hometown an edge for being a “stop” on high-speed rail transportation. Dave also served as U.S. Ambassador to Estonia under President George W. Bush, and he led the response to the 2007 Russian cyberattack on Estonia.

Dave will be remembered for his tireless work as a civic leader. He was a Founding Chairman in his hometown of two visionary organizations for economic development, both still in existence today: the Piedmont Triad Partnership and the High Point Economic Development Corporation. He served as Chairman of the High Point Chamber of Commerce, where he was voted Citizen of the Year in 1993; Chairman of United Way of Greater High Point; and Chairman of the North Carolina Zoological Park Society. He served on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, High Point Regional Hospital, Old Salem, and Reynolda House.

Dave’s commitment to his community was endless. His board services also included Wake Forest University Graduate School of Management where he served as Chairman; Wake Forest University Medical Center; Duke University Trinity College of Arts and Science; Choate Rosemary Hall (He received his alma mater Choate’s highest honor, “The School Seal Prize,” placing him in the company of such prior honorees as John F. Kennedy); High Point College (now University) where he served as Vice Chairman; Westchester Academy (now Country Day School) where he served as Chairman; The Smithsonian National Museum; and the Board of Visitors at North Carolina School of the Arts.

Together with his wife, Kay, he was a member of High Point United Way Tocqueville Society. He made substantial contributions to the Lillian Jordan Phillips Cancer Pavilion at High Point Regional Hospital, and he created lecture series at both Choate Rosemary Hall and Duke University. The Ambassador Dave and Kay Phillips Family International Lecture Series remains an important part of the Program in American Grand Strategy at Duke University, and has featured such speakers as Robert Gates, Condoleezza Rice, Fareed Zakaria, and Mitt Romney.

Dave had an insatiable curiosity about other people—where they were from, what they were doing, what made them tick. He cared deeply about others, was generous with his time and energy, and never spared an opportunity to problem-solve and brainstorm in the search for a new perspective, always with a lighthearted attitude and a lively sense of humor. His ability to connect was integral to his success. He will be dearly missed by all those whose lives he touched.

Along with his devoted wife of 51 years, Katherine Anthony Phillips, surviving Dave are his daughters Lillian Jordan Phillips of New York, New York, Katherine Johnson Phillips Clegg and husband Alex of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Boyd Anthony Phillips of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Lucy Davis Phillips Yared and husband Pierre of New York, New York; his adored and special grandchildren, Henry Davis Phillips Clegg, Lewis Alexander Luxton Clegg, Katherine Lucy Yared, and Pierre Davis Yared; and his older brother, Earl Norfleet Phillips, Jr. (Phil) and wife, Kim, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

In lieu of flowers, his family suggests that those wishing to pay tribute please consider making a charitable contribution to Lillian Jordan Phillips Radiation and Oncology Pavilion at Wake Forest Atrium Health, located at 302 West Westwood Avenue, High Point, NC 27262.

Funeral services will be on Monday, November 28th, 2022 at 10:00 AM at Wesley Memorial Church in High Point, NC.  and may be live streamed at  Reception to follow at The String and Splinter Club. Burial will be at 3:30 PM at The Roaring Gap Church cemetery, at The Roaring Gap Club, in Roaring Gap, N.C., with a reception at the Rock House following.


Funeral Service
November 28, 2022

10:00 AM
Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church
1225 Chestnut Dr.
High Point, NC 27262

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