Leroy Wayne Phillips died peacefully at home on April 11, 2023, just shy of his 90th birthday. A graveside service will be held Friday, April 21st at 1:00 p.m. at Mount Hope Cemetery with Father Clemens officiating, friends and family are welcome. Leroy was born May 17, 1933, in Baker City to Harve and Julia Phillips and lived his entire life in Baker, where he dearly loved the mountains and rivers he knew so well.
Leroy retired after many years working at the County Road Department. He was a welcomed sight to foothill residents when they saw him coming up the road in the motor grader either to get them out of the heavy snow or grade down the wash-boarded road. He made many lifelong friends working with the road crews and had the greatest stories to tell from that time. If you know Leroy, you know he was a great storyteller. And many people of the valley will tell the story of the time Leroy pulled them out of the ditch and how friendly he was in doing so.
After his work life, Leroy and Verlene could be found almost daily at their mountain property burning brush, clearing parklets, picnicking, and just loving being on the mountain. Verlene passed at a young age, but Leroy continued till his last days, making daily trips to the mountain staying in touch with all the neighbors along the way, and keeping the road in tip-top shape. He loved this little piece of ground of his in the mountains that he knew so well. He knew the name of every draw, ridge, face, creek, meadow, and basin. He hunted and hiked them all since he was a boy.
Leroy was also a builder. He made some amazing pieces in high school and continued in life building his house on the farm he developed and all the outbuildings, irrigated and farmed the fields, did the mechanic work, and a big garden. He helped the kids build homes and lastly a cabin at his mountain home.
In the National Guard for two years, Leroy competed with honors as a master marksman in both a handgun and archery and continued in civilian competitions after the service. His longtime friend, Tom Oliver and he boated and fished the Snake River below the dams for many years. They kept the family freezers stocked and accumulated many more stories to tell of those adventures. He loved family get-togethers and especially the children who he could tell the stories to. Leroy worked a paper route as a kid and the green chain at Burnt River Lumber as a young man and sold cars at the Ford dealership before beginning his career at the road department.
Leroy was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Don Phillips, granddaughter Kyla Phillips, and grandson Ryan Chastain. He is survived by his sister Joyce Bryan, sons Mike Phillips & wife Toni, Dave Phillips & wife Carol, daughter Judy Chastain & husband Don; grandchildren Brian Phillips, Wayne Chastain & Farrah, Toni Zikmund & Paul, Katie Reid & Mark and Bill Phillips & Tara; thirteen great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project through Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel at 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.
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