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Phillips made a long-lasting mark on area

The Oxford community on Sunday lost one of its biggest advocates.

Jesse Phillips, longtime publisher of the EAGLE and one of the newspaper’s owners for 53 years, died at the age of 84.

Phillips was a businessman who had several ventures over the years, but he was not one that came to work and simply went home every night. He became embedded in the community and was a true leader in every sense of the word.

He has a long list of where he served in leadership positions and earned recognition, including with the Mississippi Press Association and the Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation. He also served in just about every leadership role or committee with his church, First Baptist Church of Oxford.

A quote from Oxford Mayor Pat Patterson in today’s edition summed it up though. Patterson said even though Phillips was sick and illness had taken its toll to where he could not be active in his much-loved LOU, he did not talk or worry about himself. He wanted to know how things were going in Oxford, Lafayette County and the University of Mississippi.

He had the heart of a true leader and a love for the area that cannot be replaced and will be missed by many throughout the community.