Robert S. Phillips - Naples, FL
at age 88. He was under the care of Vista Hospice, Physicians Regional Hospital, Naples with family
and friends by his side.
Atty. Phillips was born in Milford MA, the son of Architect Wendell T. Phillips and Eva M. (Smith)
Phillips. He graduated from St. Marys High School in 1940, Holy Cross College in 1944 and Boston
University Law School in 1946. He was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar on April 9, 1947 and
practiced law in Milford for over fifty years.
Atty. Phillips was a member and Past President of the Milford Bar Association; President, Director
and Greens Chairman of the Hopedale Country Club; Founder, President and Counsel of the Milford
Area Mental Health Association (later absorbed into the State Mental Health Association); Chairman
and member of the Hopedale School Committee (1959-1971); Class Agent and Bequest Chairman
of the Holy Cross Class of 1944; Town Counsel for the Town of Hopedale; Founder and Chairman of
the Hopedale Democratic Town Committee. He was a Delegate to several Democratic State
Conventions, along with his late wife Joyce. In high school, he was on the varsity baseball and
basketball teams, as well as the debate team that won the Bishop O'Leary Cup in 1940, which gave
St. Marys High School permanent possession of the award. He was also a member of the American
Legion Powers Post 59 baseball team.
Over the years, Atty. Phillips represented many developers in planning, zoning and leasing matters.
He was Counsel and Trustee of the Abel L. Papelian and the Santoian Realty Trusts, developers
and owners of Milfords first shopping plaza.
In 1972, Atty. Phillips was appointed by the Selectmen as Town Counsel for the Town of Hopedale. It
was a time of turmoil as Rockwell Corporation had taken over the assets of the Draper Corporation,
was closing the factory and divesting themselves of all their municipal and civic functions, as well as
their significant real estate holdings, including the land upon which the golf course sat.
Atty. Phillips conceived and got all parties to agree to a plan to save Hopedale Country Club for its
members. Rockwell and the Country Club would donate the land and the improvements to the Town
of Hopedale, which then leased back the property to the members of the Country Club on a long-
term basis at favorable terms. There was no cost to any of the parties and Atty. Phillips did all the
legal and tax work required without any charges.
Another civic accomplishment he took great pride in was establishing housing for the elderly after
two hotly contested town meeting votes. The Hopedale Housing Authority subsequently constructed
elderly housing units in the center of Town as a result. As Town Counsel, he also wrote the
amendments to the Towns Zoning Bylaws allowing construction of the Laurelwood condominium
development off of Mill Street.
Atty. Phillips wrote briefs and successfully argued two cases before the Massachusetts Supreme
Judicial Court on appeals from Worcester Superior Court trials. In the first case, Bertonazzi Buick, he
gained reversal of an adverse ruling from the lower court; on the second case, Alves vs. Hayes et al,
the SJC upheld a previous favorable decision. In a notable case, in 1950, he and his law partner
Maurice E. Fitzgerald represented Harold Ward of Mendon, who had been indicted for murder of the
Mendon Chief of Police, as well as a patron in a shooting at the Red Rooster in Mendon. Mr. Ward
was found innocent by reason of insanity, spent many years in facilities for treatment of his disorder
and was eventually released back to the community.
Atty. Phillips is survived by his two sons: Robert S. Phillips Jr. of West Newbury MA and Dr. Michael L.
Phillips of Warwick RI. He also leaves three grandsons: Andrew, Donald and Robert Phillips, as well
as four nephews: Donald, Wendell, Paul and Brian Phillips.
Atty. Phillips was preceded in death by his wife of sixty years, Joyce E. (Copp) Phillips, a retired
principal of Milford High School. Also by his five brothers: S/SGT Wendell T. Phillips Jr. of the 8th Air
Force killed in WW II, Donald F. Phillips, Paul R. Phillips, Richard L. Phillips and Charles J. Phillips,
all of Milford.
Following cremation, a Memorial Mass will be held at Sacred Heart Church in Hopedale MA at a time
to be announced. Internment will follow in the family plot at St. Marys Cemetery in Milford. Funeral
arrangements are under the direction of the Edwards Memorial Funeral Home, 44 Congress Street,
Milford. Please visit www.edwardsmemorialfuneralhome.com for obituary & condolence book.
A donation in Bobs memory may be made to the Milford Regional Medical Center, 14 Prospect
Street, Milford MA 01757 or at www.milfordregional.org . WMRCDailyNews.com
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