Fulton loses Good Samaritan

Family, friends: When in need, ‘call Ben’

Ben Phillips and his mother, Juanita Phillips, at a family birthday party recently at the John C. Harris Community Center. Ben Phillips, an active member of the Fulton community, died June 21.

Ben Phillips and his mother, Juanita Phillips, at a family birthday party recently at the John C. Harris Community Center. Ben Phillips, an active member of the Fulton community, died June 21.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” —Matthew 5:16

Whether rebuilding the neighbor’s porch, assisting a disabled parishioner in and out of church, putting out a fire in someone’s home, helping with Sunday School or representing his neighbors on the city council, according to those who knew and loved him, the late Ben Phillips’ light shone very brightly indeed.

Friends and family cited many of the same traits about Phillips — a Fulton native who passed away on June 21 — but the first thing mentioned was his propensity for helping others.

“Ben was a good guy ... a very nice gentleman. If you gave him a call and needed him, he would help,” said longtime friend and fellow Ward 4 representative Steve Moore. “I think that’s what the community will miss most — you knew if you needed help with something, Ben would help.”

“He was a carefree, wonderful person who would help you do anything,” agreed Alonzo Richmond, who grew up with Phillips. “If he could do it, he would do it for you — he wouldn’t think twice about it.”

Phillips’ mother, Juanita Phillips and sisters, Stephanie Yancey and Karen McNeil, described their son and brother in much the same way.

“He would give you the shirt off his back, whether he knew you or not,” Yancey said. “I don’t know how many people he helped on the highway.”

She added that, “any elderly person, he assisted with anything they needed,” while McNeil gave examples such as mowing the lawn, fixing the roof, looking into plumbing issues or simply opening a door. They said Phillips even petitioned to move the mailboxes on Westminster Ave. so that the elderly residents would not have to cross the busy street every day.

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