Paul Edward Phillips
Paul Edward Phillips, 79, Hays, died Tuesday, November 22, 2022 at his home surrounded by family, after a long battle with pancreatic and liver illness.
He was born on January 25, 1943 in Peoria, Illinois to Dale and Frances (Icenogle) Phillips. In 1961, he graduated from Woodruff High School in Peoria and then earned his BS and MS degrees at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois in 1965 and 1967. He was united in marriage to Patricia Jean Purkey at Christ Lutheran Church in Normal, Illinois on May 29, 1965. Paul earned his PhD at the University of Kansas in 1978, and he taught Cultural Geography at Fort Hays State University for 50 years, retiring in 2017.
While at FHSU, he taught a multitude of geography courses, led numerous geography field trips for students and teachers, was chairperson of the Department of Geosciences, initiated the teaching of geography for students across the globe courses at FHSU via distance learning, was instrumental in developing the Kansas Geography Alliance to educate K-12 teachers in effective methods to include geography in the state’s social studies curriculum, as well as serving on many university committees throughout his tenure.
Paul was also active in his church and in the community of Hays. At Messiah Lutheran Church, he served multiple times as congregational president and on the Board of Parish Life, more recently helping in the kitchen for the Wednesday Midweek evening education program and Vacation Bible School. His community activities included holding many offices in the Hays Lions Club, on the Board of Directors for the Farmer’s Credit Union, and many years of the Hays City Planning Commission, continuing to serve as chairperson until the time of his latest illness. His longtime interest in radio found an outlet as he served on the High Plains Public Radio (HPPR) board for many years.
Survivors include Pat, his wife of fifty-seven years of the home, his daughter Keri Lynn Applequist and husband Patrick, a granddaughter Jennifer Anne Applequist and a grandson Phillip James Applequist, all of Larned, Kansas, a sister Carol Anderson and husband Charles of Tucson, Arizona, as well as nieces and nephews in Illinois and Arizona.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Paul loved traveling and enjoyed sharing stories and pictures from his many trips across the US and around the world. He strongly feels that first hand knowledge about the world is more important today than ever, so when he realized his time on earth was nearing its end, he and Pat established the Paul and Pat Phillips Abroad Award at FHSU to support students pursuing a BS degree and wishing to spend a semester abroad. This would help with student expenses not otherwise covered by the Study Abroad Exchange Program.
Funeral services will be at 10:00 am on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 at Messiah Lutheran Church, Hays, with Pastor Kenton Rohrberg and Pastor John Morley officiating. Burial will follow in Mt. Allen Cemetery with a lunch served in the fellowship hall of the church after the graveside service. The family will receive friends from 5:00 pm until 8:00 on Monday at Hays Memorial Chapel Funeral Home, 1906 Pine Street, Hays and from 9:00 am until service time on Tuesday at the church. Livestream can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/@messiahlutheranhays301/streams
If you wish to honor Paul’s legacy, you may contribute through FHSU Foundation to the Paul & Pat Phillips Travel Abroad Award, or gifts may be made to Messiah Lutheran Church, designating Midweek meals, or to High Plains Public Radio. Condolences and memories of Paul may be shared with his family at www.haysmemorial.com
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