In Memory

Richard Phillips

Richard Phillips

Death Notices                                    

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PHILLIPS RICHARD J.L., M.D. January 17, 2015. Age 67. peacefully at home. Longtime Practitioner of Medicine and dedicated Pediatric Surgeon at Children's Hospital. Beloved husband of Susan R. Dear father of Natalie J., Andrea Lindeman (Paul), Ian R., and Aaron W. Grandfather of Adam and Elise Lindeman. Brother of the late Mary Kay Maxwell. Also survived by his dogs, Chloe and Amber. Memorial service Thursday at 1 p.m. at A.J. Desmond & Sons (Vasu, Rodgers & Connell Chapel), 32515 Woodward (between 13­14 Mile), 248­549­0500. Memorial Tributes to Children's Hospital of Michigan – DMC. View obituary and share memories at

From The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press

Richard James Lee Phillips, M.D.

April 16, 1947 to January 17, 2015 

Resided in Oakland County, MI

Born in Defiance, Ohio on the 16th of April, 1947 Departed on January 17th 2015 and resided in Bloomfield Hills, MI.

Longtime Practitioner of Medicine and dedicated Pediatric Surgeon at Children's Hospital.

Richard James Lee Phillips – Loving husband, father, grandfather and friend. Richard was a kind, good­hearted man who loved people and especially children. He was a celebrated pediatric surgeon and even after retiring remained a dedicated consulting physician. His nature was very warm and friendly, always ready with a smile and a joke. He was also an incredibly gifted and intelligent man, but humble in a way that never made anyone else feel inferior. His passion outside of medicine was music. He enjoyed all genres, but especially jazz and rock. He was an active pianist for over 50 years, from the high  school  jazz ensemble all the way to the Bloomfield Hills senior center jazz band. He even performed in the Stan Kenton Orchestra for one month. Another of his passions was the water. He never tired of swimming, surfing and windsurfing. Even until his last year of life he swam when his health allowed it. Though a benign pituitary tumor forced him to resign from active surgery in 1995, he touched many lives and healed a great deal of pain from his patients and their families throughout his 20 years as a practicing medical doctor. He spent his remaining days playing and composing music and spending time with his family  and  friends.  He passed away peacefully in his sleep at home with his wife Susan by his side on January 17th, 2015.

Richard Phillips was born on April 16th 1947 in Defiance to Richard and Ruth Phillips. He graduated from Defiance High School and then attended Indiana University. He excelled in studies as a national merit scholar, and was also a member of the water polo team and played professionally in a jazz quartet. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry in 1969, and went on to the Indiana School of Medicine. He graduated in the top 10% of his class, and while there met and married his wife, Janet Fox. The marriage lasted only five years but gave Richard the gift of two loving daughters, Natalie and Andrea. His internship and residencies took him around the country, including Yale and Harvard, and during his surgical residency in Dayton, Ohio he met Susan Rodgers, with whom he would spend the rest of his life. They were married March 21st 1980 and had two amazing boys, Ian and Aaron.

Between that time and his retirement in 1995, he was a reconstructive surgeon in Seattle, and then the co­director of cranio­facial surgery at Children's Hospital, where he not only performed some of the most advanced procedures in the country but also intstructed new residents and medical students in pediatric surgery. His health problems eventually hampered his ability to perform surgery, but he continued to consult as a general physician until his passing.

Richard took his greatest joy from his family. He was father to Natalie Phillips, Andrea and Paul Lindeman, Ian Phillips, and Aaron Phillips. He was grandfather to Adam and Elise Lindeman. He was the brother of the late Mary Kay Maxwell. He was also a wonderful uncle to many nieces and nephews and his fondness for children made him a favorite guest at many a­gathering.

Richard's myriad interests kept him engaged and made his health issues easier to bear. He loved swimming and vacationing outdoors. Petoskey, MI and Kure Beach, NC were his favored spots and some of his most cherished memories with family and friends took place there. He was a volunteer teaching assistant in the Oakland University Jazz program and in his final years took his greatest pleasure in performing with the Bloomfield Hills Senior Center Jazz group. Professionally, he was a member of the AMA and co­authored two volumes on reconstructive surgery.

Beloved husband of Susan R. Phillips (nee Rodgers) and they were together for 33 years. Dear father of Natalie J. Phillips, Andrea Lindeman (Paul), Ian R. Phillips and Aaron W. Phillips. Grandfather of Adam and Elise Lindeman. Brother of the late Mary Kay Maxwell. Also survived by his dogs, Chloe and Amber.

The memorial service will be Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 1 p.m. at A.J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Home (Vasu, Rodgers & Connell Chapel), 32515 Woodward Avenue, Royal Oak, MI. After the memorial service, family members and close friends are welcome at the Phillips residence for a reception from 3-8 PM.

Memorials may be sent to Children's Hospital of Michigan Foundation, 3901 Beaubien, Detroit, MI 48201

Funeral Home

A.J. Desmond & Sons (Vasu, Rodgers & Connell Chapel) 32515 Woodward Ave (btwn 13­14 Mile) Royal Oak, MI US

Memorial Service

A. J. Desmond & Sons (Vasu, Rodgers & Connell Chapel) 32515 Woodward Ave

Royal Oak, MI US 48073

 Thursday, January 22, 2015

 1:00 PM

Memorials to Children's Hospital of Michigan

3901 Beaubien Detroit, MI US 48201

Children need a hospital all their own, where they come first. They need a hospital where specialists hold their hands and pediatric experts are always ready. With more than 40 specialties, the Children's Hospital of Michigan sees more kids and trains more pediatric medical and surgical experts than any other hospital in the state. For over 125 years, the Children's Hospital of Michigan is the hospital where all we know and everything we do is just for them.

Source: A. J. Desmond & Sons


Probably one of the last times that Rick Phillips was in Defiance, according to Mary Zeller Grosenbacher, whose Facebook page was the source of these photos. Above Left: Rick with his mother Ruth Phillips & Above Right: Rick with Mary Zeller Grosenbacher.

Richard J. L. Phillips, A.B., Indiana University, 1969.