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Jack Thompson Phillips, 23 years old, died Monday, June 4, at the family home on Dolphin Drive in Malvern. Jack had graduated from Penn State University in 2017 with a degree in geoscience and was poised to begin a career in that field when he was stricken with brain cancer. He and his girlfriend, Liz Snell, who also had graduated from Penn State, were on a celebratory trip to Thailand when he had to be rushed to a hospital for surgery to remove a large, bleeding tumor. His parents, Nell Rose Foreman and Michael Phillips, flew to Bangkok to be at his side. Upon his return to the United States, Jack underwent radiation, chemotherapy and 11 more cranial surgeries at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Ultimately the treatments were unable to stop the progression of the stage 4 glioblastoma, and Jack came home for hospice care a week before his death.
In Jack’s 23 years on Earth, he was blessed with a multitude of friends who knew they could count on his steadfast loyalty. He was a free spirit, yet someone who was on the cusp of a career in service to his community as a protector of the environment. He was fond of William Ernest Henley’s poem “Invictus” and made its lines (“My head is bloody but unbowed,” “I am the master of my fate,” “I am the captain of my soul”) the themes of his valiant nine-month battle against cancer.
Jack was the second of five children. Like Jack, his brothers all enrolled in Penn State after graduation from West Chester East High School. Christopher, the oldest, graduated from the University in 2015 and now works at Vanguard. Nicholas is a rising junior and Noah is a rising sophomore. The fifth sibling, Olivia, will be a senior at East High this fall.
Other survivors are a grandmother, Harriet Phillips, and a grandfather, Gene Foreman.
Friends and relatives are invited to a celebration of Jack’s life at 10 a.m. Friday, June 8, at the amphitheater at East Goshen Park, 1661 Paoli Pike, West Chester, PA 19380. In keeping with Jack’s wishes, those attending are urged to wear casual clothing in bright colors. Afterward the family will form a receiving line to greet the guests. Light refreshments will be served.
In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to the JPLivestrong Fund in memory of Jack. https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/853gXkQaT7
JPLivestrong Fund in memory of Jack.