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
 were introduced 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 the people."

 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 Motel

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.
 where it's been in various locations over the years.

 "They gave away more than they sold," Donna Phillips said.
 "They tried every firework before it was bought."

 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".

 Opal Phillips 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,"
 said Ervin.

  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 friendship."

 Greene Funeral Home was in charge of the funeral arrangements

Return to Opal Phillips Funeral Page


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