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Phillips, longtime legislator, dies

Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 9:46 am

Clarence "Pete" Phillips

Clarence "Pete" Phillips

Clarence W. “Pete” Phillips, Jr., Tennessee State Legislator for Lincoln County for 30 years, died Wednesday in Shelbyville.

He is survived by two sons, Stephen and Will, and two grandsons, Matt and Nate. His funeral will be Saturday, Dec. 15, at the First Christian Church on Madison Avenue in Shelbyville at 1 p.m., and a visitation will be held at the church that morning, 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

Son of Bedford County Judge Clarence Waters Phillips and Laura Wilkes Phillips, Pete was born in the Bedford County Hospital, February 1, 1925, and graduated from Shelbyville Central High School, where he was president of his senior class, before attending Vanderbilt University. He was an Eagle Scout. He served in the U.S. Army for two years at the end of World War II, participating as a corporal in an infantry division in the Battle for Okinawa in 1945.

After the war, he completed a BA at Vanderbilt as well as an LLB from Vanderbilt Law School. All of his life he was almost as staunch a Vandy fan as he was a committed Democrat.

In December 1947, he married Faith Hall Phillips, with whom he lived in Shelbyville as an attorney from 1951 until she passed away in 2010. Pete was an elder of the Shelbyville First Christian Church, and was a past President of the Shelbyville-Bedford County Bar Association. Among his accomplishments in the Tennessee Legislature are the expansion of the Murfreesboro Highway (231) from Shelbyville to Rutherford County, securing funding for the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy on the Unionville-Deason Road, and the creation of the Shelbyville-Tullahoma Bypass (437).

Rep. Phillips was a member of the Tennessee House for the 88th through 102nd General Assemblies, and served as Chairman of the House Calendar and Rules Committee as well as Chairman of the Commerce Committee Utilities and Banking Subcommittee. He was colorful and outspoken, and genuinely loved serving his constituents.