OMAHA — Bernard Earl “Jade” “Bernie” Phillips Jr., 74, of Kearney, formerly of Beaver City and Curtis, died Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

Private family inurnment will be later.

A public reception will be 2-5 p.m. Thursday at Kearney eFree Church.

Horner Lieske McBride & Kuhl Funeral and Cremation Services is in charge of arrangements.


He was born on Aug. 30, 1945, at North Platte to Bernard and Doris V. (Linnemeyer) Phillips.

He grew up on a farm north of Maywood and then moved to Curtis during his sophomore year of high school. He would then graduate from the University of Nebraska School of Agriculture (UNSA) in Curtis in 1963. He furthered his education by attending Kearney State College and earned his bachelor’s of education degree in December 1966.

He married Evelyn Marie Messersmith of Alliance on Aug. 15, 1964, and to this union three children were born: Brian, Trene and Terri.

He went on to earn two master’s degrees from Chadron State College and spent 35½ years as an educator, coach and administrator. He started his teaching career in Valentine and then moved to teach and serve as principal at Beaver City High School. In 1996, Beaver City would consolidate into Southern Valley Schools. In 2002, Bernie finished his long-standing career in education.

He was a member of the Elks Lodge 984 of Kearney and former member of Nebraska Council of School Administrators, Nebraska Coaches Association, Nebraska Athletic Directors Association and Nebraska Schoolmasters Club. He was devoted to his students and their academic and athletic pursuits. Many lasting relationships were developed over his years as an educator due to his caring, strong-willed demeanor.

He coached football and girls/boys basketball at various levels and was head coach of the Beaver City 1986-1987 boys basketball team that earned a trip to the Nebraska State Basketball Tournament. He was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed spending his time hunting, fishing, camping and taking trips with the fifth-wheel. Bernie especially enjoyed the 2½-month trip in 2006 that he and Evelyn took to Alaska. Many summers were spent at Lake McConaughy with family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

He is survived by his wife, Evelyn Phillips of Kearney; son, Brian Phillips, Kearney; daughter, Trene (Alan) Garey of Curtis; daughter, Terri (Todd) Schirmer of Kearney; and grandchildren, Kelcey (Ricky) Walker, Riley Garey, Regan Garey and fiancé Cole Scheer, Kellan Garey and Madison Schirmer.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be left in Bernie’s name.

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