Ambassador Stanley Davis Phillips died peacefully on Nov. 20, 2022 at his beloved family home, Valleyfields Farm, with his family by his side. Dave lived a full and proud life of service to Deke and others in business, government, philanthropy, and education. He left an indelible mark on his family, friends, and community. Although he suffered an amputation of his left leg early in his life, he took this condition as a challenge to overcome to help make a difference in the world around him.
Only months ago, Dave attended the 2022 Deke Convention in Charlotte, N.C. After everyone checked in on the first day, Dave, the former U.S. Ambassador to Estonia, gave a spellbinding talk. Appointed ambassador by Brother George Bush, Phillips told fascinating tales about life in the embassy. The Winter 2022 Deke Quarterly featured a review of a recent book detailing Dave’s amazing life.
Dave, who joined the Beta Chapter in his freshman year at UNC-Chapel Hill, said he got a lot out of his experience with DKE, including making many close, life-long friends, and he ardently supported his chapter until his death. After college, he went to work in sales for his father’s textile business, and from there, went on to a successful and exciting career in textiles and furniture. He expanded the business to include a factoring (financial) company as well.
He was the lead visionary in the development of the Market Square showroom in High Point, N.C., which eventually grew to 2.25 million square feet, about the same as the Empire State Building. Under Dave’s ownership, Market Square became the most sought-after showroom for textile and furniture companies in the country as well as North Carolina’s largest adaptive-use building.
The economic impact Dave’s efforts had on the High Point region and North Carolina in general led to his being named as the state’s Secretary of Commerce by Democratic Governor Jim Hunt, even though Dave is well known in Republican circles. Governor Hunt didn’t care about party labels, and he wanted a secretary who would relentlessly promote the state’s financial interests. Dave was proud to serve his state in this capacity.
After selling his business, Dave became interested in the Special Olympics, and eventually was instrumental in getting the 1999 Summer Games held in North Carolina, another big win for the state.
Brother Phillips, or more correctly, “Ambassador Phillips,” was thrown into the middle of that diplomatic fracas when appointed in 2007.
Many more details about Dave’s life are covered in his biography, “Come on America: The Inspirational Journey of Ambassador Dave Phillips.” His life story is admirable, and he’s a credit to Delta Kappa Epsilon.