Margaret Smith Phillips

Portrait of Margaret Smith Phillips Headstone Photograph


John C.
November 24, 1917
October 8, 1999

Margaret L.
July 23, 1921

Back of headstone


F. B. I.
Special Agent
1941 - 1944

Third Court of Appeals
1963 - 1985

Chief Justice
1967 - 1985
Full Name: Margaret Smith Phillips
Location: Section:Republic Hill, Section 2 (C2)
Row:N  Number:18
Reason for Eligibility: Wife of John Cornelius Phillips 
Birth Date: July 23, 1921 
Died: August 11, 2022 
Burial Date: September 18, 2023 

PHILLIPS, MARGARET LOUISE (1921 ~ 2022). The following is an obituary for Peggy Phillips, spouse of John C. Phillips, former Chief Justice of the Texas Third Court of Civil Appeals. The obituary was provided by Weed, Corley, Fish Funeral Home of Austin.

Margaret Louise “Peggy” Phillips left this earth early Thursday morning, August 11th. She was 101 years old and often remarked that she had outlived her expiration date. Peggy was born in Minneapolis MN on July 23rd, 1921 and grew up in Minneapolis and on the banks of the St. Croix River. She was attending Stanford University when WWII broke out. With Japanese U boats spotted off the coast of California and having to study under blackout conditions, her parents insisted she return to Minnesota. Having an adventurous spirit, Peggy soon left Minneapolis to attend university in Mexico City, enjoying the more cosmopolitan life there, including watching the famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera paint murals. On one auspicious day in Mexico, Peggy attended the horse races at the newly constructed hippodrome where she was introduced to a young American “reporter” from San Antonio Tx. The “reporter” was actually an undercover agent spying on German spies in Mexico City during the war. As fate would have it, it was an instant attraction that would have them (much to the horror of her parents) married in Mexico three weeks later. “Mah” as she became known by her family and close friends of the family was predeceased by her husband of 58 years, John C. “Jack” Phillips (who not surprisingly became known as “Dah”).

Mah is survived by her four children John C. Phillips, Jr. (Jace), his wife Cindy and their two children Damon and Madeline; James C. Phillips (Chris) and wife Meg and their four children Ethan and wife Jessica and their children Kate, Ava, Sarah, and Mick; Maggie; Joseph and wife Ani and their children Fin, Willa, Sadie, Ezra and Arlo; Suzannah Phillips Srinivasan and husband Karthik, their children Sonia, Sachin, and Ishaan; Bill Phillips and wife Liz and their two sons Taylor, his wife Anisa and their daughter Zara; Ben and wife Kate and their two sons Thorne and Raef. Peggy Phillips Singleton and husband, Dean, and their children Hallie Cameron and husband John, and their children Jack and Lucy; Cara Singleton and her husband Jimmy and their son Wylder; John Singleton and wife Corinne and their children Oliver, Milo, and Clara, and last but not least Kit Singleton. Whew! Look what you’ve created Mah!

To say that Mah will be missed is an understatement. She was our matriarch, our “glue” and our organizing sensibility. Her pearls of wisdom will remain with us throughout our lives. Having read the Bible, the Koran, and the life of the Dalai Lama, Mah probably quoted the Dalai Lama the most. She would tell us “You can choose your thoughts” therefor create your own positive reality and attitude towards life. Mah was always into the healthier alternative. She chose to have natural childbirth instead of the alternative “twilight sleep” almost 70 years ago. An organic gardener from early on, one often would find in her refrigerator cartons of ladybugs and praying mantis egg cases that would end up in living in her garden to eat pesky critters. Mah’s environmentalism would eventually lead to her to embrace BATS! Literally. Mah hosted the founder of Bat Conservation International in her home for several months after he founded BCI and relocated to Austin. This hosting included a flying fox bat that alternated between living in a bathroom and hibernating in her refrigerator when its owner was out of town. And Mah loved hosting BCI fundraisers, including once having a white tablecloth dinner at the mouth of Bracken Cave during a bat emergence. Of course, only bat-pollinated food was served along with bat dependent margaritas. Mah was also active in numerous other organizations, including the Settlement Home, the Junior League of Austin and the English Speaking Union. She would also deliver fresh vegetables from her garden to Caritas. Mah and Dah were world travelers and loved exploring exotic places together, often with their children and grandchildren. One of the most memorable trips included a rendition of “Happy Birthday” to Mah in a hot air balloon high up over the African savannah.

As she grew old, Mah’s positive outlook, courage and grace continued to be unsurpassed. After losing her eyesight and almost all her hearing, she continued to state her gratitude for having lived a long, wonderful life. Nary a complaint was uttered from her lips other than to say this “wasn’t her favorite time of life.” Mah was a hero to all her family, and she leaves very large shoes to fill. We are joyful that she is reunited with Dah and free of the bondage of an aging body that had “outlived its expiration date.” We all love you so much Mah. You have given all of us such unconditional love and wealth of wisdom in this life. We can only repay you by trying to live up to the example that you have set for us all.

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