Abingdon, VA - Eugenia Summers Phillips passed away peacefully while at home with her husband, Thomas C. Phillips, Jr., and in the care of hospice and home health care, on Thursday, June 10, 2021. In addition to her husband, Eugenia is survived by her four children, Ellen Phillips Smith and husband, Stephen Smith; Thomas (Ted) C. Phillips, III, M.D., and wife, Amy Phillips; Lucy Eugenia Phillips; and John Summers Phillips and wife, Nancy Phillips; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. She follows to Glory her parents, John C. and Billie McClung Summers of Abingdon, Va., and brothers, John (Jack) C. Summers and Richard (Dick) McClung Summers, who also lived in Abingdon. The family is grateful for Eugenia’s home health care workers, Sue Blevins and Maria Hash, whose loving care allowed her to stay at home as her health declined.
Born in Welch, W. Va., Eugenia came to love Abingdon, Virginia when her family built a summer home there that became their full-time home after Eugenia, the youngest child, graduated from Welch High School in 1945. Eugenia continued her education and graduated from Randolph Macon Women’s College in 1949 with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Music. She taught at Virginia High School in Bristol, Va. before marriage to Thomas in 1951 after his graduation from Virginia Military Institute. Then, Eugenia joined Thomas in Augsburg, Germany where he was stationed with the U.S. Army and later, lived with Thomas in Charlottesville, Va. as he obtained his law degree from the University of Virginia. As Thomas’ legal career evolved, Eugenia and Thomas lived in Roanoke, Va.; Atlanta, Georgia; and Chicago, Illinois. In 1991, Eugenia and Thomas retired in Abingdon.
Wherever Eugenia lived, she was involved in church and community. Eugenia was a member of Welch Presbyterian Church with her parents and family, and even after leaving Welch, Eugenia maintained a lifelong friendship with the pastor and his family. At Clairmont Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia; First Presbyterian Church in Lake Forest, Illinois; and Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church in Abingdon, Virginia, Eugenia taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, and played in the handbell choir. At Clairmont Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, as she and Thomas raised their four children, Eugenia provided innovative leadership for the children’s education program, and she served on the Session. She also taught countless children how to play the piano while in Atlanta. When her youngest child left for college at VMI, Eugenia obtained her Master’s Degree in English Literature from Ga. State University, and she served as the Director of Christian Education at North Druid Hills Presbyterian Church. When in Chicago, Eugenia worked for the Presbytery and wrote study materials that were published and used by the Women of the Church of the Presbytery. Upon retirement in Abingdon, Eugenia was happy to become involved in Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church and was honored to serve on the Session. In Abingdon, Eugenia was a member of the Black's Fort Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and also served as Regent.
Besides church, family, and music, Eugenia loved animals. As a child, her parents kept a beautiful sorrel horse named Princess for her on the family farm in Abingdon, and Eugenia liked to tell stories of riding Princess as her mother rode beside her on a bay horse named Kit. She also had happy memories of riding horses together with Thomas during their courtship. In addition to horses, her life was enriched by numerous dogs and cats. Her final canine companion was Karl, a German shepherd mix that brought Eugenia much happiness for many years as he kept watch over the farm in Abingdon that Eugenia had inherited from her parents. Eugenia loved Karl and loved the farm, which she kept as a second home, family retreat, and place for her gardens until selling it in 2017.
Throughout her life, Eugenia maintained a steadfast faith in God, a cheerful attitude, and good sense of humor. On June 6, 2021, Eugenia smiled, laughed, and conducted with her hands as her family sang in her honor for an early celebration of her birthday with Thomas and all her children at her bedside. We will be forever grateful for the time she shared with us and look forward to seeing her again in her new home in heaven.
Visitation with the family will be held 6-8 p.m Saturday, June 12, 2021, in the Main Street Chapel of Farris Funeral Service. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday in Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church, 136 Main Street, Abingdon, VA, with Rev. Kevin Campbell officiating. Interment will follow in Knolkreg Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations may be made to Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church; 136 E. Main Street; Abingdon, Virginia 24210, or to the charitable organization of your choice.
The family of Eugenia Summers Phillips is being cared for by Farris Funeral Service & Crematory, 427 East Main Street, Abingdon, VA 24210, (276) 623-2700.