July 13, 1951 ~ April 15, 2017

Born in: Hattiesburg, MS,
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Jimmie Lillian "Pinkie" Watts Phillips died on Saturday, April 15, 2017 at the John F. Keever Solace Center in Asheville after a long illness. She is survived by her husband, Ron Phillips, of Asheville; a daughter, Mary Paige Dukes (Jon), of Greenville, KY; and two step-children, Kristen (Todd), of Jackson, MS, and Breck Phillips, of Brentwood, TN. Her grandchildren include Courtney and Carson Kern, of Jackson, and James, Austin, and Katlyn Dukes, of Greenville. Jimmie was born on July 13, 1951 in Hattiesburg, MS. She was preceded in death by her parents, James and Lillian Risher Watts, of Hattiesburg, and grandparents, Howard and Virginia Watts and Edward and Zola Lillian Blake, all of Hattiesburg. Jimmie attended Hattiesburg Public Schools and worked in the family business, Hattiesburg Propane. She received three degrees in education from the University of Southern Mississippi. Her Ph.D. thesis involved the Inclusion of Children with Disabilities, Specializing in Special Education for the severely disabled. Her prior teaching included Gulfport Public Schools and Biloxi Public Schools. She returned to USM and worked in the Business Office and the Special Education Department while pursuing her Ph.D. Upon graduation, she made several trips to the Western States and Alaska where after a maritime strike, she famously drove back through the Yukon to get home. Jimmie became a Professor at the University of New Orleans where she excelled in writing grants and advocating for inclusion for the disabled. Jimmie was a traveler but had a particular interest in Switzerland where she visited many times. She was an avid reader, a photographer, a lover of animals and enjoyed the company of her bible study group at Central United Methodist Church, in Asheville. She enjoyed beauty and fashion and supported the industry well. Jimmie endured leukemia for over 20 years and had other medical complications resulting in her demise. Upon her retirement from UNO, Jimmie and Ron moved to the mountains where they enjoyed hiking to waterfalls and exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway. Their mountain home provided her much solace during her last years. She is remembered by family and friends as the perfect host who loved to entertain. Special care was given to her by Rissie Alexander and Gloria Keplinger, as well as many doctors and healthcare professionals in the Asheville area. Special thanks to Dr. Lisa Bond of Hattiesburg who helped her with friendship and medical care. Services will be held at Moore Funeral Home in Hattiesburg on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. Interment will take place in Highland Cemetery. Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian is assisting the family locally.

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  1. Ron, My prayers go out to you and all the Phillips family. I wish the family the very best during this difficult period.

  2. Ron, Anne and I were so sorry to hear about Jimmie. We know it has been a long battle and our thoughts are with you and your family. Kindest regards.

  3. Paige, I’m sorry I never had the chance to meet your mother. She was beautiful and obviously accomplished. Of course I believe her best accomplishment is you. My deepest sympathies for you and your family at this very difficult time.

  4. Dear Ron,

    It is with great sadness to read about Jimmie’s passing. She endured so much with her disease, and you barely had a chance to enjoy a carefree life together.
    Jimmie’s spirit will always be with you, as you hold her gently in your heart.
    Bob and I send you our deepest condolences

  5. Ron, my heart is broken for you. Jimmie was a beautiful woman, inside and out. And you, my dear friend, were her knight in shining armor. You showed the rest of us how love works. Jimmie is at peace now. May all the wonderful memories you have of her grant you the same. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you, Paige, and the rest of your family.

    Jim and Sheryl Fisher

  6. Ron,
    I’m very sorry to hears this news. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers with my deepest condolences.
    May God bless you and your family.


  7. Ron, We were honored to have Jimmie as part of our dental family. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

  8. Ron, I will never forget the first time that I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Jimmie and which was in Chicago with a significant number of your closest friends within the alumni relations profession. We were all captivated by her warmth and charm and which she continued to display every time we were with her, whether it be at your home or at a national gathering. Linda and I know how much you loved her and how much you cared for her. We are hopeful that you will come visit us to relive those precious memories as well as to create some new ones. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers.

  9. Ron, I’m so sorry to hear that Jimmy is gone. We had such a good time that weekend when you were gone. So sorry I couldn’t have helped you out the last time you needed it. As you know, I work both days each weekend. If I can help you please let me know. Jimmy was a great lady and a sweet woman. So very sorry for your loss. Ruth

  10. Ron, it was such a gift to meet Jimmie years ago and then see her at our gatherings for CAAE and NEAT. She had such a radiant smile and your love for each other was so evident. She was very special, and your care for her enriched and lengthened her life. Your family, friends, and extended professional family are deeply saddened by your loss. I’ll be thinking of you especially later this week as you celebrate her life and her courage to endure through some very tough times.

  11. There is no shortage of friends grieving for you and your family, Ron. Jimmie’s delightful smile and gentle ways were true gifts to all who knew her. It was always a treat to spend time with you both at the occasions we shared in the course of our years working together. Lynn and I extend our deepest sympathies, and we pray for the peace that passes all understanding.

  12. Ron, my heart goes out to you, my friend. It is painful, I know, and I pray for your comfort and understanding. Jimmie was a gem of a woman. You are a gem of a man. With love, Matt Brandon

  13. We are so sorry Ron. Jimmie was beautiful inside and out. So grateful that we were able to say our goodbyes. She wll be terribly missed. Stay strong. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

  14. Ron and the entire Family,
    My deepest prayers of comfort and peace for you during this most difficult moment.
    May God’s love overwhelm you and may sweet memories lift you up in spirit.

  15. Ron, Wendy and I send you and your family our prayers and love. We were blessed to know her and feel that our lives have been enriched by those experiences. As always, you are in our daily thoughts and prayers.

  16. Ron: Your beloved Jimmie is now in a better place; she suffered long and hard and your love for her during this time was wonderful to witness. God Bless you and keep you in his arms and may your days be filled with happiness and joy. We look forward to seeing you when we get to the mountains. All our LOVE…..

    Wayne & Melissa

  17. Ron,

    Kris and I were so very sorry to learn of Jimmie’s passing after her long, courageous battle. Our prayers are with you and your family. She will always have a corner of your heart.

  18. May this dear family find comfort in knowing that your beloved Jimmie has the grand prospect of being among those resurrected to a world in which ‘no resident will say: ‘I am sick.” (Isaiah 33:24; John 5:28, 29; Psalm 37:29) She will be able to live free of the dreadful worry of whether or not she will get sick. As you no doubt await this time, take advantage of the invitation that comes from our Creator, Jehovah God, to ‘throw all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.’ (1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 83:18) I hope you all take care and please accept my sincerest condolences.


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