The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


December 30, 2013

Former state Rep. Merle H. Phillips dies at age 85

— SUNBURY — Merle H. Phillips, a Dalmatia native and U.S. Marine who become a company president before serving more than 30 years in the state House of Representatives and a nearly 2-year stint as a Northumberland County commissioner, died today at age 85.

He and his wife, Helen, of 159 Haas Manor Drive in Upper Augusta Township, were married for more than 61 years. They are the parents of one son and four daughters.

Rep. Phillips served in the U.S. Marines from 1951 to 1957 and attended Susquehanna University. Prior to his election to the state House of Representatives, he was the president of Irish Valley Food Processing.

He served as the state representative in the 108th Legislative District from April 8, 1980 through Jan. 4, 2011. He then served as a Northumberland County Commisisoner from Nov. 24, 2011 until Jan. 3, 2012.

Here are some statements and remembrances:

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett

"Our thoughts and prayers go out the loved ones of former State Rep. Merle Phillips, who passed away this morning. Rep. Phillips represented the 108th District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1980 until retiring in 2010."

State Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver, R-108

"Merle was dedicated and compassionate to the people of the 108th District.

"He believed everyone deserved a second and third chance. Merle was a great mentor and friend. I will forever cherish his time here with us."

State Sen. John Gordner, R-27:

“He was a great public servant. The thing was, when you’d first meet him, he’d come over as a slow talking dutchman...and I say that in a good way... but he was clever as a fox. As a politician, he did more behind the scenes than anyone I’ve ever met. He always knew what buttons to push to get things done. He was the total package.

“I was first elected in 1992 and began serving in the House in 1993. There was a group of us, Russ Fairchild, Belfanti, Merle and myself. He was elected to leadership. He must have handled tens of thousands of constituent problems in his time.

“He was very fond of his dogs. He’d bring them to work and if anyone complained, he’d tell them to bring their complaints to the caucus administrator. Of course, he was the caucus administrator.

“Merle taught me to be persistent about projects. And he was very good at working across the aisle. People don’t realize how well he worked with Governor Rendell. Here you had a country legislator and a big city, fast-talking governor from Philly, but they worked together. The Sunbury riverfront project was first OK’d during the Rendell administration, and it happened because Merle was persistent.”

Text Only
  • $23 million sweep under way

    After years of finger-pointing and blame, Northumberland County officials have launched an initiative to try to collect $22.8 million in unpaid fines and restitution from what might be 14,000 cases.

    July 24, 2014

  • eyebrows.jpg Coming Sunday: Browsing for brows

    As makeup sales soar, four tips to make your eyebrows raise others'. Coming Sunday

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mazzeo a finalist for Middletown post

    Former Sunbury police chief Steve Mazzeo is one of three finalists for the same position in a borough about 65 miles away.

    July 24, 2014

  • rundown25zope.jpg Blighted block going bye-bye in Atlas

    Nearly an entire township block in Atlas will be torn down in Mount Carmel Township, utilizing funds from Northumberland County and its Housing Authority in an effort to fight blight. Half of this block is proposed to be developed as low-income senior living units.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1WEATHER.jpg Deadly storm strikes Virginia campground

    A fierce storm packing powerful winds and rain toppled trees and flipped campers Thursday at a Virginia campground this morning, killing at least two people and sending at least 20 more to hospitals, officials said.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Official: Air Algerie flight ’probably crashed’

    An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria’s capital disappeared from radar early Thursday over northern Mali and “probably crashed,” according to the plane’s owner and government officials in France and Burkina Faso.

    July 24, 2014

  • 1gaza25.jpg Israeli fire hits UN facility in Gaza, killing 15

    Israeli tank shells hit a compound housing a U.N. school in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 1execution.jpg How Arizona, Ohio, Oklahoma, executions went awry

    Since the start of the year, executions in Ohio, Oklahoma and Arizona have gone awry, with inmates gasping for breath as lethal drugs coursed through their bodies.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Today's Editorial: One more job appears at risk

    July 24, 2014

  • Rabbi Conflict in Israel grounds Sunbury rabbi

    TEL AVIV, Israel — While the Israelis and Hamas traded rocket and missile strikes for a 16th day, Rabbi Nina Mandel is struggling to find her way back to Sunbury after the FAA on Wednesday announced that it would extend its ban on travel at Ben-Gurion International Airport for another 24 hours.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

The Daily Marquee

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.