A Legacy of Generosity
More than 40 years ago, Harold “Gene” and Ruth Phillips found each other through their love of education, service and giving. Although Gene and Ruth had different backgrounds and vastly different experiences, these important works help to form their relationship and would be guideposts as they made financial decisions throughout their lives.
These lifelong educators lived modestly, focused on the importance of education and service to others. Because of their determination to live by trusting in God’s providence, they now share generously with the future generations of the Diocese of Fort Worth.
Gene was born and raised in the small rural farming town of Whitesboro, Texas. As a young boy, Gene learned the importance of tithing from traveling preachers and from realizing that even farmers must set aside 10 percent of the crop for seed to provide for the next year’s crop.
Ruth was born in Rhode Island and for a time was a Catholic sister, serving others through her religious vocation.
Gene and Ruth individually were always dedicated to education. Gene made a career with the Commission on Secondary Schools for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Ruth spent many years teaching in Catholic schools and eventually served as a Catholic school principal.
In 1975, Gene and Ruth married, and together built a life of service to others on the foundation of tithing.
Throughout their 43-year marriage, Gene and Ruth were committed to financially supporting their church from their income, even when it was very small. With every checking account, IRA, stock portfolio and insurance policy they ever opened, Gene and Ruth named the Catholic Church as a 10 percent beneficiary.
After their passing, Gene and Ruth’s estate created an endowment for Catholic education and seminarian formation for the Diocese of Fort Worth. Joe Phillips, their son, described the gift as just one more teaching moment from his parents. “You can start with nothing and give generously," Joe said. "Because of that, there is a living legacy in their names—a gift that will keep on giving.”