In Memoriam

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John L. Phillips Jr. ’48

John grew up in Milwaukie, Oregon, where he was active in sports and music. Through high school, he performed on his cornet/trumpet and sang with dance bands in the Portland area. He entered Reed in the fall of 1941, continuing his musical and sporting activities as he studied in earnest. In the spring of 1943, his Enlisted Reserve Corps unit was called to active duty in World War II. After extensive training as a bombardier-navigator—but no combat—he returned to civilian life. He married Elaine Conrad and they built a small house in Portland, where they raised their twin sons, Greg and Jeff.

John finished his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Reed, and continued his semi-pro musical career as a trumpet player and vocalist with the Bill Becker dance band. He also taught seventh grade for three years. He accepted a research fellowship at the University of Utah, and in 1953 was awarded a PhD degree. In 1955, John was appointed director of testing and counseling at the department of psychology of what was then Boise Junior College (now Boise State University). He was later appointed dean of students and chaired the division of social sciences. When that institution was reorganized for its imminent transformation into a university, John was chosen as the chairman of its psychology department, a position he would occupy until his retirement from Boise State University 20 years later. While at Boise State, John published nine books. His wife, Elaine, died in 1998, and John is survived

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2017

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