John Calvin Phillips, 93

Published 9:28 am Saturday, June 30, 2018

John Calvin Phillips, 93, of Austin, Minnesota, died Tuesday, June 26, 2018, at Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin.

John Calvin Phillips, 93

John was born in New Sharon, Iowa, on Jan. 27, 1925, the second son and ninth of 11 children of John and June (Lawrance) Phillips. After graduating from New Sharon High School in 1942, he worked until he entered the U.S. Army in March 1943. After a year, he entered Jump School and parachuted into Germany as part of the 17th Airborne Division during Operation Varsity on March 25, 1945. John was badly wounded on March 30 and received his discharge in November 1945.

On Oct. 27, 1945, he married Myrna Darlene Dunwoody, also a resident of New Sharon. They made their home in Ames, Iowa, for four years while John studied animal husbandry at Iowa State University, receiving his bachelor degree in June 1949. Soon after, he was hired by the George A. Hormel Company, where he worked his entire career.

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After working for a short time in Austin, Minnesota, he was transferred to Preston, Minnesota, as an assistant hog buyer. In 1951, he was transferred to Ringsted, Iowa, where he was the manager of Hormel’s livestock buying station for 15 years. During his time in Ringsted, he and Myrna raised their two children, John and Mary Joy. John was a valuable member of this little community, serving on the school board, active in the VFW and First Presbyterian Church, and was a Boy Scout leader. He was a member of the “Order of the Arrow,” an honor camping organization.

In 1965, John was transferred back to Austin, where he continued his career as manager of Hormel’s western hog buying area. In 1972, he was promoted to manager of Hormel’s Livestock Extension Department, where he was superintendent of the National Barrow Show for 15 years. During his time in Austin, John was active in the Minnesota and National Pork Producers Association and the Test Station Committee, helped organize and judge the Okinawa Japan Barrow Show, the Minnesota Beef Improvement Association and the University of Minnesota’s Agriculture Division, and was a writer for the Hormel Farmer magazine.

In Austin, John and Myrna were active members of the Westminster Presbyterian Church and the Austin Country Club. Retiring in 1987, John and Myrna enjoyed many pursuits together. Antiquing, collecting Hallmark ornaments, traveling overseas, attending jazz festivals and entertaining friends were some of their many activities. John was well known for his sense of humor, friendly nature, carrying the flag while marching in the July 4 parade, Christmas card letters, love of his country and love of the small town and rural life he knew as a child.

John is survived by his son, John (Laurie) Phillips of Otisfield, Maine; daughter, Mary (Stephen) Barna of Spearfish, South Dakota; grandson, Benjamin Barna of New York City; granddaughter, Ailie Phillips (Randy Blouin); great-grandchildren, Max and Lucy Blouin of Hatboro, Pennsylvania; sister, Ruth Hanson of Annapolis, Maryland; and brother, Lawrance Phillips of Berkeley, California.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Myrna Phillips; parents, John and June Phillips; two brothers, Vance and Lowell; and six sisters, Lois, Avis, Mildred, Phyllis, Betty and Audrey.

A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, at Westminster Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Michael Olmsted officiating. Visitation will be on Tuesday for one hour before the service at the church. Military honors will be by Austin American Legion Post 91 and Olaf B. Damm VFW Post 1216. Interment will be at Friends Cemetery in New Sharon. Memorials may be designated to Portland Boxing Club of Portland, Maine or Black Hills Lutheran School of Rapid City, South Dakota. Clasen-Jordan Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.