March 25, 1923 – November 3, 2022
Jerome “Jerry” Phillips, of Solvang, passed away peacefully on November 3rd, 2022 at the age of 99.
Jerry was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on March 25, 1923, to Joseph Phillips (Filipowicz) and Anna Phillips (Virbitzke). After finishing trade school in Milwaukee, Jerry enlisted in the Army Air Corps in anticipation of the Second World War. He was assigned to the 42nd Bombardment Squadron and trained to fly as an airman gunner and radio operator in the B-24 Liberator bomber. He participated in the Pacific Theater, flying 46 missions over Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Marcus Island to name a few. In 1946, upon returning from the war, Jerry married his beloved wife Lorraine (Hermann).
After his time in the service, Jerry became a master machinist/tool & die maker at AC Spark Plug, a division of General Motors, in Milwaukee, WI. In 1962 he relocated to General Motors Research Facility in Goleta, California, with his wife and two children. As a master machinist, he worked on several unique projects in the development of special military and government projects, including instrumental parts for the lunar roving vehicle used in the 1969 moon landing mission and the Apollo Space Craft program.
In 1980 Jerry retired from General Motors, allowing more time to spend with family and friends and in the garden, which brought him the distinguished Goleta Valley Beautiful Award. He was an avid golfer, Elks member, and engulfed himself and Lorraine in activities of the Gem and Mineral Society, panning for gold in the Sierra’s, and traveling across the states in their RV. In 1993 they moved from Goleta to Solvang, where they started specializing in finding the best donut shops in town.
Jerry was predeceased by his wife Lorraine, son Dennis, and twin sisters Lillian and Elizabeth. He is survived by his daughter, June Darby, her husband Bob, and grandchildren Nick Phillips and Carena Phillips.
A special thanks to Cliffview Terrace for their excellent and loving care in his last few years.
A celebration of life will be announced at a later date.