Harold G. "Hal" Phillips

December 30, 1936 ~ August 27, 2011 (age 74) 74 Years Old

Harold Phillips Obituary

Harold G. Phillips died peacefully, with his family around him, on August 27 at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. Hal had been diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma in spring 2010, according to his wife Lucy. It was inexorable but painless, so he was active until his final week in the hospital. He loved music (from Dylan to Bach, Bartok and Beethoven), good food, reading history, and watching Book TV on C-span 2. He and Lucy took the last of many trips in January, visiting California and Mexico. The Abbott Aces, his longtime bridge group, are planning a memorial gift to the Nehoiden golf course.
The couple lived 30 years in Wellesley, moving to Dover in 2004. Their three children, Janet, Hal Jr. and Matthew, went to Wellesley schools, and the boys played soccer. With their father, they golfed at Nehoiden, conveniently located across from their house on Dover Road.
The family came to Wellesley by a circuitous route. Hal was born in Long Branch NJ, on December 30, 1936, the only child of Harold G. and Louise Benoist Phillips. He grew up on the Jersey Shore, graduated from Red Bank High School, and earned B.S. and B.A. degrees at Lehigh University in 1959.
After two years of industrial engineering at a Pennsylvania steel mill, Hal entered the Harvard Business School. He graduated in June 1963 and in August married Lucy (nee Dickinson) of San Francisco, adopting Janet, her daughter from a previous marriage. Lucy was new to Boston and working at Harvard Medical School when she met Hal at a party in Cambridge. They were introduced by his HBS roommate, who had known her at Pomona College in California.
Hal subsequently worked in the finance area at Ansonia Mills in Taunton MA, Philco in Philadelphia, and MGM Brakes, a western subsidiary of Indianhead Mills. In 1971, he brought the family back east on joining IBEC, a Rockefeller conglomerate based in Manhattan. IBEC fostered businesses in the developing world and also had holdings in the United States. These included J. L. Thompson of Waltham MA, where Hal became CFO in 1972. The Phillipses settled in Wellesley in 1973.
At Thompson, a rivet factory (now engulfed by Brandeis University), Hal reported to CEO Harvey Howell of Dover. In 1975, they formed a partnership to acquire a failing factory in Manchaug MA, a tiny rural suburb of Worcester. The main building, built in 1826, was originally one of many textile mills in the Blackstone Valley. When Hal and Harvey took it over, the factory made foam plastic containers, mainly for supermarkets.
They turned it around and sold it in 1985. Hal then ran his own software business. He developed a unique computerized order entry system (UCOES) based on a system he had created at Manchaug and customized for clients who ran similar factories. Many had been Manchaug competitors, but Hal's affable nature smoothed the way. While marketing and servicing UCOES, he also did software consulting. On retirement, Hal had more time for family, travel, and his other interests.
He will be greatly missed by his wife Lucy, who continues to live in Dover; Janet, her husband Paul Kahla, and their children Nathan and Valerie of Towson MD; Hal Jr., wife Sharon, and children Silas and Clara of New Gloucester ME; and Matthew, wife Tracy, sons Jason and Brendan of Exeter NH. Other survivors include Hal's uncle Albert (wife Joan) of Monmouth Beach NJ: a niece Kari Dickinson Surdyk (husband John, daughters Audrey and Sophia) of Madison WI; and nephew Ralph Dickinson (wife Elizabeth, son Rafael) of Memphis TN.
Friends are invited to a memorial gathering on Sunday, October 2, 2 pm at the Wellesley College Club, 727 Washington Street, Wellesley MA 02481 (see link to Mapquest). They are also invited to share memories of Hal at this website.
In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made in Hal's name to the Cam Neely House at Tufts Medical Center, 750 Washington Street, Box 0716, Boston MA 02111, or the Animal Rescue League of Boston, 55 Annas Place, Dedham MA 02026,

  • Gathering

    Wellesley College Club

    727 Washington Street
    Wellesley , MA

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