Alan Harwood Phillips, 60, of Albemarle, passed away on Monday, August 3, 2020 at home surrounded by his family following a four-month battle with brain cancer. An expanded graveside service was held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, August 6, 2020 in the Salem United Methodist Church Cemetery officiated by Rev. David Talbert. Additional shelter and seating was provided for those who attended with social distancing guidelines being observed. Alan was born November 22, 1959 in Albemarle to the late James Alfred Phillips and Ree Harwood Phillips. He was a graduate of NC State University with a degree in mechanical engineering and received his master's degree from George Washington University. Mr. Phillips was a licensed professional engineer in the state of North Carolina. Alan was the founding director of the NASA Safety Center and served as director until his retirement in July of last year. Prior to his selection as director of the NSC, he led Langley Research Center's Office of Safety and Mission Assurance in Hampton, VA for four years. In this position, he led and managed the center's Institutional Safety and Mission Assurance Program and was accepted as a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES). One of Mr. Phillips' greatest accomplishments was when he received the Presidential Rank Award, which recognizes select members of the SES for their sustained excellent service. Throughout his career and travels, Alan formed deep friendships with numerous colleagues. Mr. Phillips was often heard quoting his dad's words of wisdom to his children. He was a true family man who considered his boys his greatest achievement. He enjoyed woodworking, photography, and fishing, but was happiest with a "project." He had planned for a retirement full of travels and times with his family and friends. Alan is survived by his wife of 38 years Leslie Snuggs Phillips; sons Gilbert Alan Phillips of Athens, OH, Samuel James Phillips of Arlington, VA, Paul Thomas Phillips of Brecksville, OH; brothers Jim Phillips, Jr. of Albemarle, NC, and Larry T. Phillips (Sandra) of Goose Creek, SC. Mr. Phillips was preceded in death by his parents James Alfred Phillips and Ree Harwood Phillips, and his grandparents Dewey Gilbert Harwood and Lectie Poplin Harwood. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Salem United Methodist Church building fund at 20897 NC-73, Albemarle, NC 28001. Stanly Funeral and Cremation Care of Albemarle is serving the Phillips family.
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