Dennis, “Denny,” Ray Phillips, 75, of Sheffield, passed away Friday, July 28, 2023, after complications associated with a rare autoimmune disease. A celebration of life service will be held at 10 A.M. on Monday, August 14, 2023, at Wesley United Methodist Church, 1405 S Pennsylvania, Mason City. Inurnment will be held in Memorial Park Cemetery. Memorials sent to the family will be donated in honor of Dennis to Heifer International for a clean water project.
Dennis was born in Mason City on January 29, 1948, to Harriet (Bacon) and Leo Phillips. Dennis grew up in Mason City, Iowa, and graduated from Mason City High School in 1966. He graduated from Mason City Community College and then attended Iowa State University. He loved music and played the clarinet in high school and later at Iowa State. He had a successful career at the Hach Company in Ames, retiring in 2014.
He graduated from high school with Erin Bastian, and they reconnected years later at a high-school reunion, after which Dennis wrote a sweet and sincere letter and inquired about a date. They married on June 21, 2004, and Dennis was welcomed into an instant family with four kids, their spouses, and grandchildren.
Dennis was known for his strength, resilience, and loyalty, though he could be a bit stubborn! He had many friends and enjoyed playing golf and trying new golf courses, getting together with the high-school reunion group, and visiting his best friend from elementary school, Kurt, whose family had a cabin on Lake Vermilion. Dennis enjoyed the lake so much that he bought land there in 1990 and built a cabin on Black Bay. Dennis and his friends enjoyed adventures at the lake, including hauling all the materials and supplies across the lake to his boat-access cabin site. Another adventure included an old boat, a ham can, and make-shift boat lights duct taped to the oars; the youngest of the crew dubbed the group, “The Hogs from Hell.” Dennis thoroughly enjoyed his time at the cabin and loved talking with friends around a crackling campfire, taking long naps, cooking and trying new recipes, and fishing; he was particularly good at catching the elusive Walleye.
Dennis was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Donald and Dale. Dennis is survived by his wife, Erin Bastian Phillips, and their children: Nicole Zickefoose (Chad Kinart), Summer Zickefoose (Joseph D’Uva), Benjamin and Daniel Zickefoose and grandchildren - Kacey, Ethan, Liam, Ezra, Finn, Felix, and Ellis (and six more children from the Weispfenning family who considered him a grandpa too). His family lovingly referred to him as “Poppy” – a nickname that his eldest grandchild gave to him. Dennis is also survived by his niece and nephew, Julia and Jeff Phillips, and their children, and his best friend Kurt Morud, his wife Gloria, and their children, Travis and Kim.