Opal Phillips of
Andy's Fireworks dies at 78
|Copyright The Herald
Jul 9, 2003
Ask Robert "Runt"
Phillips what attracted him to his wife, Opal, when they
at a ball game, and he'll say, "Everything."
They raised a family and
worked together for 61 years, 45 of them running
Andy's Fireworks, now
located at 1211 Cherry Road Rock Hill S.C..
"That was her pride and
joy," daughter-in-law Donna Phillips said of the store.
"She just loved
Diagnosed with liver
cancer four months ago, Opal Phillips was determined
to live through the
Fourth of July. She died Monday 07/07/2003 at age 78.
"So many people came in
wanting to know where she was,
" Donna Phillips said, adding they operated
the store as usual.
"All we could do was cry and sell fireworks."
Opal Phillips of Phillips Pet
The couple, who worked
together at Celanese, also ran Phillips Pet Motel
at their home in Quiet
Acres, off S.C. hwy 5. Opal Phillips also was a notary
public; her son,
Andy, and his wife Donna were the first couple she married.
But she is also known
as the grandmother sent to jail for 20 days for
contempt during a 1984
custody battle. The S.C. Supreme Court ruled in
1986 that Phillips was
wrongly jailed for not bringing her granddaughter
to custody hearings.
"She was an extremely
strong-willed woman," said Elizabeth Cochrane, 28,
and the granddaughter
Opal Phillips fought to keep. The Phillips' adopted
Elizabeth when she was
12. "Not having her guidance anymore will be
really hard," Cochrane said.
A Rock Hill native, Opal
was the youngest of six children born to Jesse and
Maime Brazzell. She
left high school after the 10th grade to marry
"Runt," Phillips and they
had five children.
Her brother got her into
the fireworks business when he was a distributor.
She opened her first
store in Clover, S.C. and later moved it to Rock Hill, S.C.
been in various locations over the years.
"They gave away more than
they sold," Donna Phillips said.
"They tried every firework before it was
The store, which was open
only for certain holidays, was named after her
brother, who died in France
during the war, and for her son "Andy".
believed in hard work and in pulling her own weight, said her
friend of 20
years, Brenda Ervin of Fort Mill. "She was not lazy by any means,"
Not one to mince
words, Phillips would tell her opinion. But she also was
willing to lend a
hand and was devoted to her family, friends say.
"She had one of the biggest
hearts I have ever known," Ervin said. "I feel
honored to have her
Greene Funeral Home was in
charge of the funeral arrangements