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 Shoppes.    

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 Bay, Florida.

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.