Reba K. Phillips
Reba Ellen (Keller) Phillips was born to Wilda and Willard Keller on
September 11, 1915 in Muncie, Indiana. As the eldest of eight
children, Reba quickly became an experienced homemaker and second
mother to her sister (Agnes) and six brothers (Robert, William,
Paul, Charles, Rae, Jim). Reba would joke that peeling
potatoes and cooking rice for her large family after school each
evening made the proposal from her beau, Harold Phillips, ever so
inviting. Trading the potato peeler for the plow, she married Harold
in 1934 and took on the responsibilities of farm wife and mother.
Times were hard, and milk checks scarcely
covered the needs of Reba’s growing family. Three daughters, Joann
(Phillips) Speer, Tipton, Indiana; Jane (Phillips) VomSteeg, Fresno,
California; Carol (Phillips) Ehresman Bartow, Alpena, Michigan
became her joy. Reba was skilled in managing her home and
contributing to her community. Active in the Delaware County
Farm Bureau organization, Delaware County Home Extension Service
serving as county president in 1951-52, and the Indiana Literary
Club, Reba generously served others. Reba’s dedication to the Selma
Methodist Church firmly rooted her family in faith. Reba worked
outside the home when times dictated at Marhoffer Meat Company,
Rhae’s Meat Plant, and later at Ball Stores, and Collegienne
Moving from the 125 year-old farm house to a
new, limestone structure located east of the old home in 1953 was
the beginning of a new era. Daughters were college educated,
happily married, and creating homes of their own. Grandchildren
began to arrive; each was welcomed and greatly loved - Dwight Speer,
Doug Speer, Deborah (Speer) Cox, Dwaine Speer, Deanna (Speer)
Overdorf, Sharlene (Ehresman) Kozlowski, Shari (Ehresman) Nelson,
Sharilyn (Ehresman) Smith, Terri (Ehresman) Cook, Andrew VomSteeg,
Tim VomSteeg, and Alicia (VomSteeg) Devore.
As Harold retired from factory and farm labors,
Reba followed alongside on travels to Brazil, the Holy Lands,
England, and Mexico. The couple spent winters in their travel
trailer enjoying warmth and views beyond the farm’s restrictive
boundaries. These travels fueled a wander-lust that led Reba
and Harold to residences in Alpena, Michigan and later in Barefoot
As grandchildren grew up and married, Reba
welcomed 32 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great grandchildren to
her lineage. Her joy was evident as she held and comforted
each arrival. Following Harold’s death in 2001, Reba resided with
daughter, Carol, granddaughter Shari, and most recently with
granddaughter Deanna, in Noblesville, Indiana. Reba knew she
was loved and was grateful for her care. Amongst family, Reba died
on November 19, 2013, at the age of 98.
Reba Ellen Phillips was a treasure to her
family. Her steadfast love, gracious spirit, and joy will be missed.
There is no doubt that she arrived home with God who congratulated
her on a life well lived.
Graveside service for family and friends will
be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 23, at the Tetersburg
Cemetery. A memorial celebration will be held at 5:00 p.m. on
Tuesday, December 10, at Harbour Shores Church, 8011 E. 216th
Street, Cicero, Indiana. Visitation with family will be one hour
prior to the service. Young-Nichols Funeral Home, Tipton, is in
charge of the arrangements.
Reba supported the International Leadership
Institute, P.O. Box 1005, Carrollton, Georgia, 30117.