James Phillips, Jr.


6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Friday, July 27, 2018
Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art
Salisbury, Maryland, United States

Memorial Service

11:00 am
Saturday, July 28, 2018
St. Peter's Episcopal Church
Salisbury, Maryland, United States

Obituary of James Phillips, Jr.

James Andrew Phillips, Jr. (“Andy”) died on July 19, 2018, at the age of 76. After a long battle with cancer, he died peacefully at his home in Salisbury, surrounded by his loving family and devoted wife, PK. Born in Salisbury on February 6, 1942, he was the son of the late James Andrew Phillips, Sr. and Leah Messick Phillips, both of Quantico.


A 1960 graduate of Wicomico High School, Phillips was on the track and field team and played clarinet in the school band. He attended Texas Western in El Paso, Texas, and also attended University of Maryland where he majored in business and was a member of the Pershing Rifles. A member of Boy Scout Troup 268 of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Salisbury, he achieved the highest rank of Eagle Scout with Gold Palms at the age of 15 and attended the BSA World Jamboree in England. He went on to become an Explorer Scout.


Gifted with many skills and abilities demonstrated at a very young age, Phillips could build, fix, imagine, create, and do many things that left people in awe and wonder. He could dream and envision things that others couldn’t imagine—and bring them to life. While still in high school he built water heaters, dry cleaning stills, and a host of other equipment. Later as an adult he continued the family business, Phillips Cleaners, founded by his parents. He was an inventor and received many patents, including one in 1968 for the Steam Kat, a type of water heater used in the dry-cleaning business.


From there, Steam Kat Corporation was formed to manufacture the water heater which was sold throughout the United States and Canada. A prototype was also sold in Vietnam. In 1971 Phillips was commissioned by General Dynamics to design and build a specialty heat exchanger that was used on two nuclear submarines. In 1973 Phillips built a laundromat that used the incoming cold water from the city to air condition the building while at the same time heating the water going to the washers, an essentially zero-cost recycling process.


Steam Kat Corporation later transitioned into a hazardous and non-hazardous waste disposal business for which he was featured in Entrepreneur magazine in 1992 for an innovative method of recycling contaminated dirt. He went on to pioneer plastic wood extrusion and build several businesses, including commercial real estate flex space in Fruitland. With his wife, he also renovated numerous residential properties, including two historical homes in Princess Anne.


A lifetime member of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Quantico, he served there in several capacities over the years. Phillips, a 46-year member of Salisbury Rotary Club, was one of the primary Rotarians responsible for the beautiful renovation of the Rotary Scout Cabin on Riverside Drive. Also, a member of the Wicomico Yacht Club, Phillips had a love of boating and fishing and loved being on the Chesapeake Bay, which he knew well and navigated with the skill of an Eastern Shore waterman. He also had an interest in cars—building, fixing, modifying and driving.


Phillips was a family man and loved nothing more than time spent with his wife, children and grandchildren. He is survived by his wife and love of his life for 54 years, Phyllis Kay (“PK”) Gordy Phillips. He is survived by three children from this union, James Andrew Phillips III (wife Noelle) of Salisbury; Kirk David Phillips (wife Kennerly) of Wayne, Pennsylvania; Nicole Phillips Ostertag of Orlando, Florida; and three grandchildren, Cooper Phillips, Bo Phillips and Logan Ostertag. He is also survived by a sister, Nancy Phillips of Paoli, Kansas, and several nieces, nephews, and grand-nieces and grand-nephews. To his family he was the most amazing man in the world—he was selfless, loving, caring, thoughtful and so much more.


The family wishes to express its sincere gratitude to Dr. Justinian Ngaiza and his staff as well as the outpatient chemo nurses, the third-floor oncology nurses and staff at Peninsula Regional Medical Center, and special thanks for the care and comfort of the nurses and staff of Coastal Hospice.


Contributions in his memory can be made to Rotary Club of Salisbury Foundation at P.O. Box 735 Salisbury, MD 21803, or to St. Philip’s Cemetery Fund c/o Community Foundation at 1320 Belmont Avenue, Salisbury, MD 21801.


A visitation will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 27, 2018, at the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 28, 2018, at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Salisbury.


Arrangements are in the care of Holloway Funeral Home, 501 Snow Hill Rd., Salisbury, MD 21804. Please visit www.hollowayfh.com to send condolences to the family.

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