Jonathan Curtis Phillips, known to his friends as J.P., was born January 19, 1990, in Indiana. He moved to Exeter, CA at the age of 6 weeks, with his mother and older sister. He passed away May 22, 2023 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at the age of thirty three. Johnny, as his family called him, attended Exeter schools, graduating from Exeter Union High School. As a child, he was involved in all sports activities Exeter had to offer, in school, Little League, The Recreation Dept, travelling teams and All Stars, but he was a stand-out in baseball. His position was catcher. His goal in any game was throw-out the runner going to second base, and to hit a home run; he always did both! In 7th grade, Johnny broke both ankles, sliding into home, and was told he would be able to walk, but never run again. So, as soon as the casts were removed, he began walking, then fast walking, then running! In 8th grade, he was a star basketball player, baseball player, and cross-country runner. He discovered he loved cross country and in later years, competed in multiple marathons in both California and Oklahoma, usually finishing in the top 10%, but always running to the finish. Johnny would light up a room with his presence. His personality was as bright as his smile and his blue eyes. He never met a stranger and could talk to anyone, anytime, about anything. Being part of such a large, close-knit family, Johnny enjoyed spending Saturday nights wit Momas and Popas with all the cousins, playing hide and seek into the later hours, swimming,and just having fun.
From the time he could sit on his Popas’ lap, he attended church and Sunday school at LemonCove Community Church, where as a teen, he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior, was baptized and became a member of the church. He was an integral part of JAM, the youth group, and as a high school Senior, he taught a Sunday School class. We always said that Johnny graduated from high school on charm, personality, and his talent in sports, but once he started college, he loved to tell all of us how he finally learned how to study and focus on academics. While working full time at Thousand Hills Pet Resort in San Luis Obispo, he graduated from Cuesta College, having completed all prerequisites for nursing school. At that time, most nursing programs in California had a 2 year waiting period before admittance. So, on the suggestion of a friend, he applied by email to Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The following day, he received a phone call from the Dean of the Nursing School. He immediately thought it was a prank call so he hung up! But she called again and informed him she was saving a spot for him If he could be there in two weeks to enroll in and pass a required 4 week accelerated Bible class, Only then would he be eligible to begin the semester with the other nursing students. He and the Dean became great friends, and she was instrumental in helping him obtain the needed scholarships. So off he went to follow in the footsteps of his Aunt Michelle and Aunt Karin into the nursing field! Our California boy, who wore only gym shorts, t-shirts, and tennis shoes, or flip flops summer and winter, to the blizzards and tornadoes of Oklahoma! He experienced and lived through both! He discovered he loved his nursing classes and devoted his entire being to them, making lifelong friends along the way! On a class tour of St Anthonys Hospital in Oklahoma City, Johnny, always the go-getter, stepped into the office of the Director of Nursing, and told her he needed a job! After speaking with him, she hired him on the spot, even though he was only a beginning nursing student. From that time on, he worked every weekend and holiday, shadowing the ICU nurses while being paid $17.00 an hour. He was officially in training, and rich! In 2.5 years, he graduated #1 in his class, Cum Laude, passed the state exam, received his license, and was a full-fledged nurse with a job in ICU at St Anthonys.He worked at St Anthonys for several years, taking classes for extra accreditations. and certifications to add to his nursing resume, becoming a Certified Critical Care Cardiac Registered Nurse. He transferred to Integris Hospital in Oklahoma City to help build up their new cardiac unit and worked there for several years. During COVID, he worked long shifts and extra days caring for his patients, knowing he might be the last person they would see. He cared deeply for his patients and his coworkers.But as much as he loved nursing, nothing could compare to the love he had for his daughter, Evann. He doted on her from the time she was born, loving the time he spent with her, whether simplytaking her to school, taking great vacations, or just having lunch with her and talking. He was hopeful for a wonderful future together with her, watching her grow up. But sadly, that was not to be. Two years ago, Johnny became a travelling nurse working mostly on the West Coast so he could be closer to his extended family. Our Johnny loved life, and he loved living life. We miss him dearly, and he will always be our Johnny. A memorial service will be held at the Exeter Memorial Building located at 324 N Kaweah Ave, Exeter, CA 93221 on July 13, 2023 at 11:30am to celebrate his life. Johnny was always and forever a Dodgers fan with Dodger blue being his favorite color. To honor him, feel free to wear Dodgers attire or the color blue. Even if you are a Giants fan, you will be welcome. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to his grandfather’s scholarship foundation: Frank D. Ross Memorial Scholarship Foundation, P.O. Box 365, Exeter, Ca. 93221
He is survived by: -his cherished daughter Evann Phillips, -his mother Julie Phillips -his Dad, Dow Ross -his sisters, Alisha Cerda (Mike) Sharon Ross Elizabeth Woods -his brother, Chirstopher Ross (Morgan) -his nephews, Andrew and Jett -his nieces, Saydee and Kate -his Grandmother, Sue Ross -his Aunts and Uncles, Aunt Kelly, Aunt Kerry & Uncle Bruce, Aunt Kristy (Jon) Aunt Karin Aunt Michelle and Uncle Kenny Aunt Melanie -his cousins Maddie, Justin, Tommy, Jesse, Luis, Frankie, Valerie And his youngest cousins Drew & Karsyn to whom Johnny was like a big brother. He is preceded in death by his beloved Popas Frank Ross, his grandparents Jim & Joan Mullis, his Uncles Chris & John Mullis.