Ruth Bowman Phillips

Ruth Bowman Phillips

LAKE JUNALUSKA — Ruth Roberta Bowman Phillips, 95, passed away on Friday, July 5, 2019, at her residence with her daughters present.

A native of Ohio, Ruth was a daughter of the late Glenn and Mary Bowman. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, the Rev. J. Carlisle Phillips Jr.; son, Jim Phillips; a sister and three brothers.

Ruth graduated from the College of Wooster in 1944 and completed further studies at the School of Religious Education at Hartford Theological Seminary and Scarritt College. In 1944, Ruth began a career as a high school teacher in Orrville, Ohio. After she married J. Carlisle Phillips Jr. in 1947, they served as United Methodist missionaries for 35 years in southern China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

She also served five years in the China Program of the Board of Global Ministries in New York City; and held interim assignments as Acting Area Secretary for the China-Hong Kong-Taiwan area in the World Division of the Board of Global Ministries.

In retirement, Ruth taught Sunday school at First United Methodist Church of Waynesville. She also volunteered with Haywood Christian Ministry and taught English as a member of the Literacy Council.

Ruth is survived by three daughters, Carol Frizzell, and her husband, Don Spirlock, of Yountville, California, Ann Becherer, and her husband, Bob, of Stony Brook, New York, and Claire Phillips of Gap, Pennsylvania; a daughter-in-law, Cathy Murphy, of St. Louis Park, Minnesota; eight grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 5, at First United Methodist Church in Waynesville.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church, 566 S. Haywood Street, Waynesville, NC 28786; or Haywood Christian Ministries, 150 Branner Ave., Waynesville, NC 28786.

The care of Ruth has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Homes and an online memorial register is available at “Obituaries” at

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