Charles Carroll Phillips Jr. passed away today, October 26, 2021, at Alexandria Hospital in Alexandria, VA. on the second day of his ninety-ninth year. His death was due to complications of a urinary tract infection.
Charley was born on October 25, 1923, in Alexandria, VA in the Carlyle Apartments, which once stood directly in front of the Carlyle House in Old Town Alexandria. He was the son of Charles Carroll Phillips Sr. and Rebecca Harding. His family moved to Fairfax Street shortly thereafter, where he grew up in Old Town and along the Potomac River. His Alexandria version of the southern accent, once common in this area, often caught people off-guard when he spoke. His father was a locomotive mechanic and machinist who worked at Potomac Yards while his mother raised Charley and his two brothers and two sisters. Charley excelled at baseball and basketball in his early years and became an accomplished golfer as an adult. When he was young, oyster houses were still common in Alexandria and he developed a passion for oysters (while hating all other types of seafood!) At Christmastime his family always had Shuman’s Jelly cakes which he loved to the end of his life. When he was a teenager, he nearly drowned at Smoot’s barge in the Potomac River when an anchor rope got wrapped around his leg as the line was thrown by a friend from a rowboat to the barge. He went to George Washington High School …usually. He occasionally skipped school and took a trolley to Griffith Stadium in Washington, DC to watch the Washington Senators play.
In 1943 he enlisted in the US Army after World War II broke out. He was badly injured in a night driving accident at Fort Ord, CA where his unit was preparing for the Invasion of Japan. He spent more than a year in various hospitals and said that doctors at Bethesda Naval Hospital saved his life.
After the war, he went to work for the US Postal Service in Alexandria. He moved into Postal Management in the 1960s and was appointed the Postmaster of Alexandria in 1973 by President Nixon. He was one of the last presidentially appointed postmasters. He was postmaster for sixteen years during a period of extremely high growth in the City of Alexandria. He retired in 1988 with forty-one years of service.
He was a member of the Andrew Jackson Masonic Lodge and an honorary member of Friendship Firehouse. When his children were younger he served as a Cub Scout Pack Leader and an assistant Scoutmaster. He was an umpire for various Alexandria recreation leagues, including Little League.
He spent his retirement years in Alexandria, VA, Dunedin, FL, and finally in Arlington, VA.
He is survived by his wife, Otha Reeves McGinnis Phillips, of Arlington, VA. Had he lived another two weeks, they would have celebrated 70 years of marriage. He is also survived by five sons; Charles C Phillips III of Warrenton, VA, Randall William Phillips of Alexandria, VA, Darryl Alan Phillips of Manassas, VA, Brian Jeffery Phillips of Alexandria, VA, and Gary Reeves Phillips of New York City, NY. He is also survived by a sister, Betty Jane Saliga of Dunedin, Florida. In addition, he is survived by two daughters-In Law: Mimi Huynh Phillips and Lisa Mackenzie Phillips and by four grandchildren: Evan Michael McCarthy of Chicago, IL, Chandler Grace McCarthy of Lebanon, NJ, Mackenzie Reeves Phillips of New York City, NY, and Tessa Alexandria Phillips of New York City, New York.
A Visitation will take place on Thursday, November 11, 2021, starting at 1 PM to 3 PM and then 5 PM to 7 PM at Everly Wheatley Funeral Home 1500 West Braddock Road, Alexandria VA 22302. The following day Friday, November 12, 2021, a graveside service will take place starting at 11 AM at Quantico National Cemetery 18424 Joplin Rd, Triangle, VA 22172. If family and friends wish to send flowers, please send flowers to Everly Wheatley Funeral Home.
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