Celebrating the life of Claire L. 'Deede' Phillips
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Deede was born in New York City on January 3,1922 to Arthur Keeler Bourne and Emily Miller Bourne. She was baptized an Episcopalian and later became a Christian Scientist. Deede was the oldest of three children and spent her first few years in NYC until the family moved to Southern California in 1926 where her sister, Fredricka G. Bourne, and brother, John Gilbert Bourne, were born.
Deede was an avid and accomplished athlete enjoying and excelling in horseback riding, swimming, tennis, badminton and golf. She was invited to join the US Olympic swim team in her youth, and at 75 years of age, won a gold medal in Senior Olympics for tennis. She was admired for her grace and spirit in competition.
Deede married Victor C. Phillips on May 18,1941. They were married 33 years before his death in 1974 after long illness. They had three children: Lynn M. Phillips; John Phillips (died at birth); and Victoria L. Phillips.
Deede attended Clairbourn School in San Marino, California, which was named in her honor. After graduating from high school, she studied business at Pasadena City College. During World War II Deede served in the hospital administrative office while Vic served in Hawaii as a military aide to General Mitchell Willis (Army)
After the war, Deede and Vic started their family residing in San Marino, California. While Deede raised their family, she also found time to play golf, tennis and read books. Deede especially enjoyed Dick Francis, Agatha Christie, Tony Hillerman and P.D. James.
After her husband died, Deede created a new life in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she loved the culture and was a patron of the arts. Eventually, she came to the Lazy K Bar dude ranch after reading Spike Van Cleve’s first book. Deede loved the many, many summers spent there and decided to move to Big Timber, Montana as she had become very fond of the little town. Big Timber was a major recipient of her generosity through the Sweet Grass Arts Alliance for which she bought the building now housing the Two Rivers Gallery. The Food Bank and many other charities in and out of town also benefitted from her generosity.
Deede was a beloved mother and great friend. Her loving, kind, caring, happy spirit and generousity were a blessing to many. Her beautiful blue eyes, radiant smile and infectious laugh lit up many a room.
Deede is survived by her son, Lynn M. Phillips and daughter, Victoria L. (Vicki) Phillips and her cherished friend, Barbara Van Cleve.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Sweet Grass Arts Alliance in Big Timber or to Angel Horses, Inc. in Billings, Montana.
To plant a tree in memory of Claire L. 'Deede' Phillips, visit the Tribute Store.
West of Big Timber
Big Timber, MT 59011
Celebration of Life
115 West 4th Avenue
PO Box 278
Big Timber, MT 59011