Bill Phillips was born in 1933 on a farm in the small town of Tuckerman, Arkansas. After moving to Detroit in the 1940's and growing up in Melvindale, he joined the Air Force during the Korean War. He served at Pepperrell Air Force base in Newfoundland as an airplane hydraulic technician and line chief. In Newfoundland, he also met the love of his life and future wife, Bridget Culleton.
Coming home to Michigan with his new bride after the war, he used the skills he learned in the Air Force to enter into a business partnership designing hydraulic systems. With a young and growing family of a wife and six kids, he made the leap to become sole owner of PSI Hydraulics. Two mortgages and two more children later, PSI grew into a multimillion dollar enterprise. With the success of the core business firmly established, Bill initiated a series of acquisitions and further growth to make Phillips Service Industries, Inc., into a diversified, $130 million company employing more than 500 people across the US and abroad. On the home front, the family also continued to grow by acquisition. Eight kids, plus their spouses, twenty grandchildren and one freshly minted great-granddaughter is the current tally. As if all of the above didn't keep him busy enough, Bill spent a great deal of his time supporting local political causes and philanthropic efforts. He was also an avid outdoorsman, making many hunting and fishing trips as far afield as Alaska and closer to home to his beloved camp in the U.P. He was also an avid reader, and most recently an author, publishing his memoir, "An American Entrepreneur," in 2010.
After a hard-fought battle with ALS, our dad passed away peacefully, surrounded by his children and their families and many dedicated care-givers. Of course he will be sorely missed, but he left such a large legacy that there will continue to be reminders of him everywhere. He is survived by his children; Lynn Phillips, Donna Westmoreland, Lisa (Brent) Bassett, Terry (Steve) Cauzillo, Scott (Sabine) Phillips, Bob Phillips, Amy (Mike) Fitzpatrick and Sean (Jane) Phillips. He is the adored grandfather of Sarah, Erin (Mike) King, Meghan, Ben, Lauren, Max, Caleb, Haley, Laine, Jarred, Molly, Amy, Andy, Matt, Alia, Zane, Jack, Will, Luke and Owen. Proud great-grandfather of Bridget. Dear brother of Phyllis Gail Johnston.
The family will receive friends for a Memorial Visitation on Sat, May 11, 2013 from 2-9pm with an evening Rosary at Harry J. Will Funeral Home 37000 Six Mile, Livonia, MI 48152.
There will be a Memorial Mass at 10:00am on Monday, May 13, 2013 at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church 132 Orchard Drive, Northville, Michigan 48167.
Bill will be laid to rest with his wife in Rural Hill Cemetery on Seven Mile Road, west of Sheldon, in Northville, Michigan following the Mass.
Donations to ALS of Michigan in memory of William T. Phillips for the Respite Care Assistance Program 24359 Northwestern Hwy, Suite #100 Southfield, MI 48075.