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Elliott Waite "Chope" Phillips
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|R.I.P Chope Phillips||Elliott Waite “Chope” Phillips, age 97, peacefully left this world Sunday, April 26, 2015 in his home surrounded by loved ones. A memorial service will be held Tuesday, April 28, 2015, 3:00 pm in St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church with the Reverend Jo Roberts Craig officiating. Arrangements are under the direction of Boxwell Brothers. Elliott Waite “Chope” Phillips, was born January 11, 1918, in Okmulgee Oklahoma, to Waite and Genevieve Phillips. He graduated from Culver Military Academy, Culver, Indiana, in 1935. During his youth he loved being in the mountains of New Mexico riding horses and working cattle with the cowboys at Philmont, his family’s ranch just outside of Cimarron, New Mexico. He continued his education by attending Menlo College and Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. While in California, Chope and his friends enjoyed going to local county fairs, frequently returning with a lamb or a goat to be cooked for a meal. Each summer he drove with his friends down Route 66 to Cimarron where they would spend the summer working with the ranch hands at Philmont. They especially enjoyed leading the packhorses to the family’s favorite spot, “Fish Camp.” In 1940, following college, Chope moved to Winfield, Kansas and began working for the Hawkeye Oil Company. In 1941 he moved to Philmont, and assumed full charge of the acreage north of Cimarron. Upon, his father’s, Waite Phillips’ donation of Philmont to the Boy Scouts of America, Chope relocated to the Bough House in the town of Cimarron. In late 1942, Chope enlisted and was inducted into the army at Fort Bliss, a United States Army post serving New Mexico and Texas located in El Paso, Texas. He was later stationed at Sheppard Air Force base in Wichita Falls, Texas, and the Amarillo Army Air Field in Amarillo, Texas. He received his officer training in the Officer Candidate School at the Miami Beach Training Center in Miami, Florida, graduating April 1, 1944. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and returned to Amarillo to lead training at the Bivouac Camp north of the town. He received Winter Training at Ft. Carson near Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Aviation Corps training in San Antonio, Texas. Weekends off during his time in the army were often spent at Philmont. He loved riding his favorite horses in the mountains he had grown to love as a young boy. In late 1945, he purchased his first ranch (Old Ranch) located near Maes, New Mexico. He loved showing family and friends “his” first ranch. His girlfriend, soon to be his wife, Virginia, C. C. Boyd, as well as other family and friends, frequently visited the ranch. They helped with ranch chores and enjoyed spending the day swimming, and fishing in the “old fishing hole”. April 19, 1947, he married his soul mate, Virginia Lee, with whom he shared a mutual love of New Mexico, the outdoors and ranching. Together in 1958, they purchased their ranch located in San Miguel and Mora counties in New Mexico. Chope enjoyed raising horses, maintaining a herd of mother cows, and pasturing steers each summer. He loved being horseback. Buck Ray was his prized stallion while Blackbird, Miss Crow Creek and Taffy were favorite mares and mothers of colts he enjoyed raising. Chope and Virginia loved sharing the ranch with family and friends throughout the years. Many times guests rode around the ranch, even helping with cattle work on several occasions. His older grandsons, Bill, John and David enjoyed spending time on the ranch with Chope and driving “Old Blue.” His younger grandchildren, Lela and Hunter, both share fond memories of driving and riding around the ranch with their beloved Granddad. The ranch was Chope and Virginia’s permanent residence until their retirement and sale in 2002. Following the sale of their ranch, Virginia and Chope moved to Amarillo, Texas. They anxiously awaited the arrival of their first granddaughter in February of 1994. They enjoyed being back in Amarillo, reconnecting with friends and memories. Trips overseas and visiting friends and relatives became a larger part of their lives during retirement. Chope’s love of ranching continued after retirement, as he rode horses and helped Amarillo ranching friends with their cattle work, mostly branding, into his early 90’s. He was a mentor and friend to many ranchers. During his lifetime, Chope was a member of the New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association and the Cimarron Maverick Club. He was a lifetime member of the Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was a member of the Philmont Scout Ranch Committee. He was a member of the Boy Scouts of America and was recognized as a Rancher, Philanthropist and Scout Benefactor when he was awarded their highest honor the Silver Buffalo in May of 1998. In 2005, Chope was one of five ranchers from New Mexico and Texas selected to receive the Foy Proctor Memorial Cowman Award presented by the Nita Stewart Haley Memorial Library in Midland, Texas. The appellation “true cowmen” is applied to both men and women who have literally “grown up” with cattle on a ranch somewhere in the southwest and who through a long lifetime have lived and worked with cattle horseback, particularly mother cows, in addition to making their living, at least to a considerable extent, from the “cow business.” All awardees are also “horsemen.” That moniker does not imply that they raise and sell horses, though some do. It means that they are experienced at riding and developing, or training young horses, to become “finished” cow horses.” It also means that these cowmen have worked their herds of cattle horseback for a lifetime and still avoid doing anything with cattle “a foot” that can be done smoother, easier and with fewer injuries to the stock while in the saddle. Chope was preceded in death by his parents Waite and Genevieve Phillips, his sister Helen Jane Breckinridge, and his beloved wife of 64 years, Virginia Lee Phillips. He is survived by his children, Julie Phillips Puckett, Amarillo, John Elliott Phillips and wife Tami of Amarillo, and Wendy Lee Drewry and husband William Wallace Drewry III of Bainbridge Island, Washington. He was affectionately known as “Granddad” to his grandchildren Lela Phillips Puckett and Marshall “Hunter” Puckett II, and known as “Chope” by his grandsons William Wallace Drewry IV, John S. Drewry, and David R. Drewry, and seven great grandchildren. The family wishes to express gratitude to his caregivers, Wanda Johnson, Guillermo and Simona Cabello, and Nettie Tucker who cared for him these past few years. Special thanks are also expressed for the loving care he received from Goodcare Home Health Services and Hospice Care of the Southwest, especially his loving nurse, B. J. Smith. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be to Philmont Scout Ranch, 17 Deer Run Road, Cimarron, NM 87714. Attn: Steve Nelson. Please include: Memorial Gift for Elliott W. “Chope” Phillips. Sign the online guestbook at www.boxwellbrothers.com.|
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