Sunday, November 22, 2020

John Phillips and Amy Dunbar.
                                                           John Phillips and Amy Dunbar.

John Phillips (PhD99) of Coventry, Conn. passed away earlier this year at the age of 61 after contracting COVID-19.

Originally from Texas, Phillips earned his BBA and Master of Public Accounting from the University of Texas. He was a senior manager with Arthur Anderson in San Antonio, Tex. until moving to Iowa City in 1993.

Phillips’ wife of 34 years, Amy Dunbar, taught in the Tippie Accounting Department in the 1990s and Phillips earned his doctorate in accounting from the Tippie College of Business in 1999.

Professor Emeritus Amy An has been friends with the couple since they arrived at Tippie. She remembers them as highly regarded by faculty and students and remembers John as a “patient and gentle soul.”

“John was an outstanding doctoral student in our Ph.D. program,” Henry B. Tippie Research Chair in Accounting Dan Collins said. “After graduation from Iowa, he established an outstanding research and teaching career. He was a kind caring
person who always made those around him better. He’ll certainly be missed by all who knew him.”

After Iowa, Phillips went on to be an award-winning professor at the University of Connecticut for 18 years and was the coordinator of their accounting Ph.D. program for nine years before he retired in 2017 due to complications from
Parkinson’s dementia.

“John was a tremendous co-author,” remembered Phillips’ research partner and UC Irvine Professor Mort Pincus. “He was methodical, thoughtful, his work ethic was tremendous, and his work was rigorous. He also had a healthy sense of humor, which is always important. John was simply an outstanding scholar.”

Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs and longtime family friend Shari Piekarski remembers Phillips as a serious runner and devoted Texas Longhorns fan.

“He loved the Texas Longhorns, yet, when he moved to Iowa, he learned the importance of developing a fondness for the Hawkeyes too. Sometimes John needed to play the role of referee when friendly social or scholarly debates got a little too heated, disarming the debaters with a jovial “How ‘bout them Hawkeyes,” Piekarski remembers. “At the end of the day, John was a quiet and introspective person. He enjoyed nothing more than gathering in front of a crackling fire with friends and family and a nice bottle of wine.”

Phillips is survived by his wife Amy, their children, Jessica and Leo, and four grandchildren, among many more extended family members that were important in his life.


This article first appeared in the 2020 issue of Iowa Ledger