GREENVILLE — Celebration of Life services for Ruby Earline Brister Phillips, 85, of Greenville, will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 27, at First Presbyterian Church, Greenville. She died Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019. Burial will be in the Greenville Cemetery, under the direction of Boone Funeral Home, Greenville.
She was the daughter of Jesse Alton Brister and Ruby Mae Andrews Brister, of Jayess, Mississippi, and the oldest of eight siblings. Earline graduated from the Mississippi State College for Women. After graduation, she moved to Greenville to work as a librarian. In 1955, she met Billy Blann Phillips (“Rail”) at Strazi’s Drive-Inn. They dated for three months before getting married, a marriage that lasted for 64 years and produced four children, 13 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
In addition to being an avid reader, she enjoyed singing in the choir and playing handbells at her church, First Presbyterian Church of Greenville. She also enjoyed gardening and loved cooking and spending time with her family. In 1990, Earline was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer, which had invaded other organs. After years of treatment, her cancer had gone into complete remission. From and after that date, Earline and Rail chose to live the rest of their lives together to the fullest. She and Rail loved traveling and were devoted fans of the Ole Miss Rebels.
Earline was preceded in death by her parents, Jesse Alton Brister and Ruby Mae Andrews Brister, both of McComb.
She is survived by her husband, Billy Blann Phillips, of Greenville; children, Billy Blann Phillips Jr. (Carol), of Greenville, Laura Phillips Milam (Allen), of Greenville, Paul Scott Phillips (Angela), of Greenville, and Jennifer Winn Phillips McArthur (Jim), of Greensboro, North Carolina; grandchildren, Brian Patrick Phillips (Catherine), Emily Phillips Frey (Hamilton), Blann Phillips Lutken (Poteat), Lindsey Milam Smith (Dominick) John Robert Milam (Jessica), Laura Madge Milam (Patrick), Courtney Phillips Parrish (Will), Marshall Hayden Phillips (Julie), Jordan Phillips Thomas (Evan), James Leo McArthur III, Winn Phillips McArthur, Laura Elizabeth McArthur, Hayes Andrews McArthur; 12 great-grandchildren; siblings, Evelyn Buie, of McComb, Kathy Capral, of Panama City, Florida, Charlene Bowlin (Jerry), of Pass Christian, Leroy Brister (Charolette), of McComb, Elaine Raborn (Jerry), of Jayess, Marian Boyd (Donnie), of Pricedale, Charles Brister (Lela), of Milton, Florida; and many nephews, nieces, grand-nieces and nephews, and great-grand nieces and nephews.
The family would also like to express appreciation for her caregivers, Swanickee Payne and Betty Payne, who saw to it that Earline lived her final days in comfort.