James Murray Phillips, Jr. died after a short 22-day battle with pancreatic cancer on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 in San Antonio. He was born on January 4, 1974 to James Murray (Jimmy) and Mary Jo (Smith) Phillips, also in San Antonio.
Murray is preceded in death by his father Jimmy Phillips. He is survived by his wife of twenty years, Lisa (Felps) and his son Braeden James, age fifteen. He is also survived by his mother Mary Jo Phillips, sisters Cindy (Roy) Mendenhall and Mandy (Todd) Herber, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Murray devoted his entire life to farming and even at a very young age spent countless hours observing and learning from his father and the men that worked on the farm. When his father passed away in June of 1996, Murray took over full-time managing the farm his dad had built at 21 years of age.
Murray’s farm knowledge was recognized by many and especially through the awards he won over the years, though he hated the attention. He was awarded Conservation Farmer of the Year for the Frio Soil and Water Conservation District in 2001. He then received the Resident Conservation Farmer for Region III in Texas in 2003. In 2013, he was honored as the Peanut Profitability Award Winner for the Southwest Region, and was recognized at a ceremony in Panama City Beach, Florida. He also shared his knowledge by serving on various farm-related boards and associations including the South Texas Peanut Growers Association, the Southwestern Peanut Growers Association, the Wintergarden Spinach Producers Board, and the Wintergarden COOP Gin.
Murray’s second love was rodeo and he began began volunteering at the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo in 1991, at the age of seventeen on the Operations Committee. He then became a life member of the organization in 1993. He was recognized as Committeeman of the Year for 2015-2016, and served on the same committee for twenty-nine years.
Honorary Pallbearers included Mike McWilliams, Ana Martinez, Jimmy Crawford, Brad Crawford, Grayson Wilmeth, Gary Boyd, Barry Jeton, John Jacobs, Johnny Chessher, Troy Chessher, David Jones, Charlie Vinton, Chuck Sewell, Jonathan Graham, Bill Rogers, Mike McHugh, Lionel Gandara, Paul Barajas, Brett Verstraeten, Clay Applewhite, Clint Ljungdahl, Tomas Ortiz Villafranco, Lalo Aguilar, and Carlos, Tony, and Lionel Monzon.
A memorial service is scheduled for Sunday, September 27, 2020at 3:30PM in the First Baptist Church, Pearsall.
Those wishing to leave condolences, share memories, or sign the guest book may do so at www.HurleyFuneralHome.com.
Memorials in honor of Murray’s life can be made to The National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation at npcf.us. Forms may also be printed and mailed to P.O. Box 1848, Longmont, Colorado 80502.
The Murray Phillips Agricultural Scholarship Fund at Security State Bank. Donations can be made at any bank location in Pearsall, Pleasanton, Devine, Natalia, or Castroville.
Arrangements were under the direction of the Hurley Funeral Home, Pearsall.