“He left it better than he found it:” Community remembers pilot who died in Cross Lake plane crash


SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Friends and community members are remembering the well-known businessman, philanthropist, and family man who died Sunday when the small plane he was piloting crashed into Cross Lake Sunday afternoon.

Fred Phillips, who would have turned 74 just over a week, was the President and CEO of Phillips Energy. He was also Vice President of the Leonard and Betty Phillips Foundation, which was started by his parents and he gave generously to many community organizations, including the Deaf Action Center and Shreveport Regional Arts Council (SRAC).

“He saw the world in a very passionate and large way that never wanted to settle for mediocrity,” SRAC Executive Director Pam Atchison said Monday.

“Fred and his family, they are real supporters of not only the arts, but the quality of life of individuals in the community,” added SRAC Board President Henry Price.

“He saw the world in a very passionate and large way that never wanted to settle for mediocrity,” said Atchison. “Fred truly lived life to the fullest in everything that he did, in his business in his love of sports and recreation and flying.”

Phillips was an avid and experienced pilot, who had overcome tragedy less than two years ago. He lost his longtime partner to a devastating fire sparked by a propane explosion at a home in Colorado. Phillips survived and, after many months, made a full recovery. Friends and family say his survival from that traumatic time makes his sudden death all the more shocking.

“He had been so victorious in his recovery we thought he was immune to harm,” Atchison said.

“He had missed the last Las Vegas Night Fundraiser for The Deaf Action Center because of the explosion,” said David Hylan, Deaf Action Center Executive Director. “So he was so looking forward to this year’s event and being chair and now that doesn’t come to fruition.”

But the man who friends say preferred to work behind the scenes, laid the groundwork in Northwest Louisiana to help generations to come.

“In a nutshell, he left it better than he found it,” said Price.

Phillips leaves behind an extensive family, including five children and his sister Sandi Kallenberg.

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