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Community reaction on loss of Jesse Phillips

Harry Sneed, Sneed Ace Hardware:

“He was one of the most forward-thinking leaders in our community. One of the main reasons Oxford is where it is today is because of him. He was a fine Christian man. I can’t say enough good things about him.”

Jeff Busby, Lafayette County Board of Supervisors president:

“This is just a tremendous loss for Oxford and Lafayette County. He was such a pillar of the community. His involvement and passion for this county has been seen for decades. His passing is a tremendous loss for all of us here.”

Max Hipp, former Chamber and EDF president and CEO:

“The Phillips were always the movers and shakers in the community, including their children. Jesse was a wonderful community booster.”

Tony Mize, owner of The Beacon, said his father, who has passed away, and his 90-year-old mother both knew Phillips quite well.

“He was a fine Christian man and will certainly be missed. I knew Dan and their kids and we were always welcome to their house when we were kids. We enjoyed going out there and playing as children.”

Charlie Mitchell, assistant dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media:

“Mr. Phillips was respected throughout the Mississippi Press Association as a calm and thoughtful voice of reason. He brought the same to community life and bridged the gap with others who set the stage for a focused and peaceful desegregation of public schools.”

Ulysses “Coach” Howell, Oxford alderman:

“Mr. Phillips and I knew each other a long time, since his kids were in school. He was a man who cared about everyone and would help anyone.”

Sylvester Moorhead, fellow church member and former dean of the School of Education at the University of Mississippi:

“I had known Jeanette and Jesse for many years before they were married, and they were very active in our church. Jesse was really a key figure in the development of the church. He saw through building programs and other projects, and he really had his heart in that church, and for it to do well. He’s a great fellow. I really appreciated him and recognized all of the things he did. It’s a big loss both to the city and to the church.”

Retired Rev. Duncan Gray III, the ninth bishop of Mississippi, who knew Phillips from Gray’s time as rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in 1985 until his consecration:

“I appreciated Jesse’s devotion to Oxford and his desire to produce a first-rate record of this community, and he was certainly involved in multiple ways in making Oxford a better community.”