Arnold ‘Arnie’ R. Phillips


Posted: Sunday, August 13, 2006


  Arnold 'Arnie' R. Phillips

Arnold 'Arnie' R. Phillips

Longtime Ninilchik resident Arnold “Arnie” R. Phillips died Thursday, Aug. 9, 2006, of a heart attack related to his long struggle with diabetes and multiple surgeries at Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna. He was 74.

A celebration of his life will be held at noon today, Aug. 13, at Carrol Bock Hall in Ninilchik.

Mr. Phillips was born Sept. 8, 1931, in Eau Claire, Wis. He, his dad and brother were trappers and hunters and owned a mink ranch and horses in his teens until the untimely death of his brother, Jerry, in 1952. He married Phyllis Nelson at age 16, and they had four children by the time he was 21. He worked on the railroad in Wisconsin and owned Arn’s Tavern in Eau Claire. Through his brother-in-law, he managed Fingerhut Manufacturing in Gaylord, Minn., and later headed up research control and development at Fingerhut in St. Cloud, Minn.

Through all of these occupations he was an avid outdoorsman, hunter, fisherman and “man’s man.” In 1965 he moved his family again to Anchorage and hunted fur seals commercially on a large fur ship as the “shooter.” In the off season he sold cars at Alaska Sales and Service while researching gillnetting and commercial fishing. From 1966 through 1969 he returned to Eau Claire, where his first family was in high school, and worked at Plombon Volkswagen as a salesman. He returned to Alaska in 1969 with a Boston whaler boat, hunting fur seals in Prince William Sound. He eventually bought his commercial fishing license for salmon and halibut.

Mr. Phillips fished out of Resurrection Bay from Seward and settled in Ninilchik, where he commercial fished out of Cook Inlet. By this time he was divorced from his first wife and married Dixie Lee Osier, having two children with her. While living in Ninilchik he commercial fished, owned a water well-drilling business and at the time of his death was owner and creator of Alaska’s Own North Country Wine winery. Mr. Phillips had several deep freezes filled with wild game, fish, garden vegetables and mushrooms and prided himself on being a hunter-provider. He enjoyed his horses and hunted moose with them every fall.

“Arnie was stubborn, proud and equally as charming and disarming and will be missed by the many people he made an impact on during his rich life filled with challenge and adventure,” his family wrote.

Mr. Phillips was preceded in death by parents, John and Ella Phillips; brother, Jerry Phillips; and his second wife, Dixine (Dixie) Lee Osier Phillips.

He is survived by his children, Steven John Phillips of Wasilla, David Michael Phillips of Eau Claire, Jeanne Beth Phillips of Meadow Lakes, Daniel Scott Phillips of Palmer, Ronda Arnette Phillips Blough of Hoonah and Randi Elene Phillips Presley of Soldotna; seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren; and his first wife, Phyllis La Joie of Honolulu.

Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel in Kenai.

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