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Frederick Clayton Phillips


Saturday, July 07, 2018

Hanover, N.H. — Frederick Clayton Phillips, 103, died at Wheelock Terrace, on Saturday, June 30, 2018, after a long and happy life.

Fred was born in the small coal-mining town of Osceola Mills, Pa. on Jan. 18, 1915, the eldest child of Fred and Edith (Sankey) Phillips. He attended high school in Tyrone, Pa., graduating in 1932, having earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 1931. After graduating magna cum laude in Aeronautical Engineering from NYU in 1938, and completing the course requirements for a master’s degree at M.I.T., Fred accepted a position as an aerodynamicist at the Glenn L. Martin Co. in Baltimore, Md., where he worked throughout WWII. In 1942, he wed Harriet Mae Cowher, an old friend from Tyrone with whom he remained happily married for more than 71 years. Harriet predeceased Fred in 2014.  As well as his aerodynamic work, during WWII Fred also taught the subject at night school at Johns Hopkins University.

In 1947, he and Harriet moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he became a Professor of Aircraft Design for the Brazilian Air Ministry. Daughter Sarah Ann was born in Rio in August 1948. The three returned to the U.S. in 1951, where Fred took up a position at the McDonnell Aircraft Corp. in St. Louis, Mo. Son Jon Frederick was born in June 1953. In 1955, Fred accepted a position at Canadair Ltd. in Montreal, Canada, and son David Macready was born there in January 1957. 

After 25 years at Canadair as the Director of a variety of aircraft productions, Fred and Harriet retired to Lyme, N.H. in 1981. He worked occasionally as an aircraft industry consultant for a few years, but both became very involved in the Lyme Congregational Church and local community. Among many ventures, Fred was active in the Boy Scouts, the preservation of the Lyme horse sheds, as a town trustee, and sang heartily in the church choir for decades.

Fred will be lovingly remembered as a true gentleman, a man of spirit and conviction, loyalty and love. He was a keen gardener, a voracious reader, and a passionate lover of classical music, especially that of J.S. Bach. To those who knew him, he loved people, a good joke, good food and wine, but above all, his family. 

As well as the three children, Fred is survived by his three grandchildren: Rebecca, Tyler and Evan.

A memorial service at Lyme Congregational Church is planned for late August. Donations in Fred’s memory may be made to local charities such as the Boy Scouts of America Daniel Webster Council, or The Lyme Foundation.