James Murray Phillips, Jr. was born in San Antonio, Texas, on January 4, 1974, to James Murray (Jimmy) and Mary Jo (Smith) Phillips. He passed away after a short 22 day battle with Pancreatic Cancer on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, also in San Antonio, Texas.
Murray devoted his entire life to farming. Even at a very young age he 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. He was merely twenty-one years of age but his knowledge, determination, and work ethic didn't let his age get in the way.
Over the next 25 years Murray used agricultural advancements and ever changing technology to enlarge the farm and diversify the crops grown to what it is today. He also became involved in other farming partnerships with dear friends and family. He loved farming and all it encompassed. It was his hobby, profession, and vacation all rolled into one. His favorite time was dusk. He loved to drive around on the farm as the sun began to set with one arm out the window and the AC blasting away in the truck. He was constantly dreaming of "bigger and better". He took pride in all he did and never took on a task if he couldn't give it his full attention. He also loved helping others in the profession and shared his knowledge with new farmers to help them be successful in their own right.
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 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. He 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.
Murray is preceeded 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.
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 PO Box 1848, Longmont, CO, 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.
Honorary Pallbearers Include:
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.
Due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 Pandemic, face masks or facial coverings are required, and social distancing is to be observed. Please restrict physical contact to members of your immediate family only.
Those wishing to leave condolences, share memories, or sign the guest book may do so at www.HurleyFuneralHome.com.
Arrangements under the direction of the Hurley Funeral Home, 608 E Trinity, Pearsall, TX 78061 (830) 334-3361.