Phillips in March 2017
|Birth:||2 April 1907|
Kingston, Arkansas, USA
|Death:||18 August 2018|
Carol Stream, Illinois, USA
|Age:||111 years, 138 days|
Phillips was born on a farm in Kingston, Arkansas, USA, on 2 April 1907. Her father died of typhoid fever four months after her birth. She studied maths, psychology, and education at Buena Vista College, Iowa, earning a bachelor's degree. She met her husband, Leonard, while she was in graduate school at the University of Iowa. They moved to Illinois where she worked as a chemistry lab worker and he worked as a research biologist. They never had children.
Leonard Phillips died of leukemia in 1968. Merle retired from her job in 1972, although she continued to work in child care and elder care well in to her 90s. She also worked as a Christian missionary, travelling to Israel, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
Around 1970, Phillips nearly died when a truck hit her car, pushing it into oncoming traffic. It caused her engine to be pushed into her front seat. Her heart, liver, spleen, stomach and lungs were all damaged, and she was not expected to survive, but she recovered.
As well as writing, Phillips enjoyed Sudoku and playing Scrabble. She died in Carol Stream, Illinois on 18 August 2018 at the age of 111 years, 138 days.
Phillips has written 11 books, and is working on a 12th. She began writing when she was 72, with the intention of selling them to make profit. However, she gave up selling them when she was in her 80s. Her books are non-fiction and mostly autobiographical.
- Local author draws on 107 years for inspiration WGN TV, 28 August 2014
- Carol Stream's Merle Phillips celebrates 109th birthday My Suburban Life, 11 April 2016
- At nearly 110, Carol Stream author still has the write stuff Chicago Sun Times, 26 March 2017
- Local resident Merle Phillips celebrates 110th birthday My Suburban Life, 10 April 2017
- Carol Stream woman celebrates 111th birthday Daily Herald, 2 April 2018
- Local resident Merle Phillips dies at age 111 My Suburban Life, 20 August 2018