10254 W. Carlton Bay | Garden City, ID 83714

Thomas Robert Phillips Jr. February 7, 1923 - February 23, 2020

Thomas Robert Phillips Jr, 97, beloved Dad, Grandpa, Great Grandpa, Great Great Grandpa, and best friend to all passed away on February 23, 2020.
Tom was born February 7, 1923 in San Francisco, California to Florence Neary Phillips and Thomas R. Phillips, Sr. Tom was raised in Oakland, California and graduated from Castlemont High School. His music career started early, and he was a professional jazz saxophone player by high school. He performed in the San Francisco Bay Area during the “Big Band Era” with many of the well-known jazz bands of that day.
He met the love of his life Shirley Louise Duffin while playing in a dance band at the age of 16. They were young sweethearts and married while both were 19. Tom enlisted in the Navy after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He served as an intelligence officer at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for 2 ½ years.
He attended Lewis and Clark college in Oregon after which they returned to San Francisco where Tom received his music teaching credential. He taught the jazz band, band, and orchestra at Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo, California for many years. He later went on to become the Music Coordinator for the San Lorenzo School District. He was influential in developing many musical talents during his teaching career and was a favorite teacher of all his students. His jazz bands took many prestigious music awards at national competitions and were invited to tour Europe for two summers.
Tom was an active leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving as a Bishop, counselor to the Bishop, and many high councils of the church.
Tom was a family man. He and Shirley raised four children, Norm, Melody, Joy and Diane. Summers were spent traveling to Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, or the sunny beaches of California. Life was beautiful for his family. Tom is cherished by all of his family members. He will be fondly remembered by all those whom he encountered. He loved life and living and was always commenting on how fortunate he was to have such a wonderful family. After our Mom, Shirley passed on, an old high-school friend Barbara Johnson contacted our Dad. She had just lost her husband also; they were able to marry and be companions to each other after the loss of their spouses.

Tom was preceded in death by his dear wife Shirley Duffin Phillips, second wife Barbara Johnson Phillips; parents Thomas R. Phillips and Florence Neary Phillips; his sister Doris Phillips Massie; Tom is survived by his son Norman R. Phillips (Cindy) Mesa, Arizona; daughters Melody Phillips Weyerman (Mel) Nampa, Idaho, Joy Phillips Orza, Boise, Idaho, and Diane Phillips Goodwin (Rob) Eagle, Idaho; 19 grandchildren, 51 great grandchildren an d 2 great great grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 10:30 am at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 6655 N. Meridian Road. A viewing will be held prior to the service at 9:00 am.


  1. REPLY
    Robin Hart-Mize says

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Mr. Phillips. He was an amazing music teacher who was loved by his students. Rather than send flowers, I will send a donation to the Arroyo High School instrumental music department in his name. I think that would make him very happy.

    I wish Mr. Phillips well in the big band in heaven.

    Robin Hart-Mize

  2. REPLY
    Betty Dufur-Buck says

    So sorry for your loss… we will not be able to attend the services Saturday.

  3. REPLY
    Robert Alaniz says

    Sorry for our loss. I was in the class of 65 Arroyo High School marching band. I played at playing the Souzaphone.
    I must say Mr. Phillips was a man of infinate tolerence. Although I am now going on 74 years of age I stll remember his tring to whip us into a band. I don’t know how the director’s wands survived his emphatic tumping on the rim of the kettel drums. A bigger mystery was how the kettel drums survived. To this day I hold Mr. Phillips in great respect. No I did not become a famous Souzaphone player. The music skills I did learn got me a position as a Sonar Technician aboard a Navy Destroyer and Submarine hunting Russian Submarines durning the cold war. To this day I appreciate all kinds of music. A gift I treasure thanks to Mr, Phillips.

  4. REPLY
    Susan King says

    I am so sorry for your loss. Mr. Phillips was my favorite teacher at Arroyo High School during my school years from 1964-1968. I know my feelings were felt by all of his students. He made us work hard and had a great fun personality. I will always remember his big smile and him getting exasperated at the percussion when they tried goofing off from time to time. I enjoyed reading about his years afterward I graduated and knowing that he was loved by everyone and enjoyed his large loving family.

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