Phillips Boatwright- Ridge Spring, S.C.

Phillips Boatwright- Ridge Spring, S.C.

Emile Phillips Boatwright died on March 20, 2024. He was 97.

Phillips was born in Monetta, S.C. on December 17, 1926, to the late Harriett Graham and James Ernest Boatwright, Sr. He was the youngest of three children. Phillips attended Christ School in Arden, N.C.  where he was an all-conference baseball pitcher. He departed before the second semester of his senior year, with three of his classmates, to enlist in the U.S. Navy. During WWII, putting country and duty before self, he left behind a promising baseball career and served honorably on the USS Stribling. After the war, he attended Newberry College before returning to Ridge Spring, SC in 1950. From that time on he was involved in many aspects of the community, and all would agree that he made a significant difference in life there. 

Professionally he was the owner and President of the Ridge Telephone Company from 1961 to 1992. He served on the board of the S.C. Telephone Association from 1971 until 1992 and was inducted into the S.C. Telephone Association Hall of Fame in 2005. His service to his community was varied and long standing. He was a founder of the Boy Scouts chapter in Saluda County and guided its early growth when it operated in a one room house. He was the recipient of the Silver Beaver Award in 1966. Phillips was also a volunteer with the Ridge Fire Department from 1956 until 1988 and for many years was the Assistant Chief. He was also a long-time member of the American Legion, attending meetings religiously and can be remembered for his ramrod straight posture with his hat over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance. Phillips was a strong believer that if you wanted to make a difference, you had to get involved. Consequentially, he served as Mayor of Ridge Spring from 1959 until 1973 and as a member of the Saluda County Council from 1973 until 1985.

Faith was an integral part of his life. Phillips was a member of Grace Episcopal Church literally his entire life. He served as Warden and Jr. Warden and was involved in all aspects of church life.

In addition to his parents, Phillips was predeceased by his two siblings, James Ernest Boatwright Jr., and Averill Boatwright Courtney. Survivors include the love of his life, his wife of 72years Jennie Herlong Boatwright, his son Emile P. Boatwright Jr., and three daughters Jane Boatwright Schwab (Nelson), Sarah Boatwright Schwarz (Jack) and Nancy Boatwright Holt (Ken). In addition, there are three granddaughters, Nancy Schwarz Lowry (John), Emily Schwarz Bull (William) and Claire Holt, as well as three great grandchildren, Miller Lowry, Margaret Lowry, and Sarah Bull. Phillips was a loving husband, father,and grandfather and he considered his family his highest calling.

Jennie and Phillips loved to travel and did so often. Whether it was trips to the beach, driving trips all around the US, or cruises to the far ends of the earth, they enjoyed being together and seeing new places and things. The Sunday Night Supper Club was a regular occurrence at the Pond House. The Boatwrights loved to entertain as much as their guests loved attending.  Phillips also hosted an annual BBQ at the Pond House. Its purpose was fellowship and comradery, but the taste of good BBQ didn’t hurt either. Phillips loved to fish, whether at the Pond House or any other water that held fish. He enjoyed catching fish, eating fish, and just spending a day in a boat with a good buddy. Also, Phillips was a great storyteller with total recall of names and dates. He could deliver a punchline as well as anyone. He had a twinkle in his eye as the story unfolded,which always drew the listener in.

After a long and full life of service to his God, his family, his country, and his community, it can truly be said of Phillips Boatwright, “well done thy good and faithful servant.”

The family will be receiving friends at the Phillips Boatwright family home from 5pm-7pm on Tuesday, March 26, 2024. A graveside service will be held at 11:00am, Wednesday, March 27,2024 at Ridge Spring Cemetery, 3068 Hwy 23 Ridge Spring, SC 29129. Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Edgefield Mercantile Funeral Home. 

Memorials may be made to:

Episcopal Church of the Ridge

PO Box 508

Edgefield, SC 29824


American Legion Post 133

PO Box 278

Ridge Spring, SC 29129