Ann Kuppinger Phillips, lovingly known as Annie, passed away peacefully on Friday, September 22 surrounded by her family. A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Ann spent the majority of her life in Harlingen, a true Valley girl. Ann was preceded in death by her parents, Dr. John Kuppinger and Charlotte Kuppinger Colhoun, her bonus parent, Charles Colhoun, all beloved members of the Harlingen community, as well as Chuck Colhoun and Katrina Simms. She is survived by her husband, John F. Phillips Jr. and her daughters, Paige Flinn (John) and Kelly Phillips, her adored grandchildren, Mac Flinn, Ben Flinn, and Charlotte Hull, her sister, Sally Kuppinger Johnson, her sisters-in-law, Kathy Dower and Sherry Conca, and numerous adult step siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, all with whom she enjoyed close relationships.
Independent and strong minded her whole life, Ann attended boarding school at St. Mary’s Hall in San Antonio, Texas, graduating at 17 years old. She first attempted college in Rockford, Illinois where she learned the art of playing bridge. After returning to Harlingen, she met the dashing John Phillips from San Benito. Quickly, the two were a pair and married in 1966. Young and in love, the newlyweds temporarily resided in the garage apartment of Peggy and Frank Boggus, precipitating a lifelong friendship with them.
Ann ultimately earned a degree in Interior Design, graduating Summa Cum Laude from the University of Texas while caring for an infant child during which time John fought the “cold” war at Sparrevohn Air Force Station in Alaska. The young family of three moved back to Harlingen shortly after Ann finished her degree.
Both businesswoman and creative force, Ann held jobs at Delta Office Supply and The Marine Military Academy while still planning themed birthday parties for her girls and serving on the PTA at Austin Elementary School. An entrepreneur at heart, she and her dear friend, June Toland, founded The Best of Everything, a decorating and event company, and helped start Riofest. She was also co-owner of The Best Little Beads in Texas. Each of her future retail concepts were Harlingen gems, including The Clothing Court at The Lemon Tree, A. K. Phillips and Co., The Image Factory, The Big Event, and That Lime Green Store. One to never sit idly by, she took violin lessons, taught herself French and learned graphic design using her many treasured Apple computers.
Ann was a true believer in giving back to the community, and her legacy will be in the difference she made donating her time, and talents to groups across the Valley. She loved supporting the Harlingen Junior League Charity Ball, The Algodon Club, Lower Valley Cotillion Club, Riofest, the Gladys Porter Zoo, The Museum of South Texas History, Loaves and Fishes, Dining by Design, and many more. Mostly though, Ann thrived making a difference in the lives of individuals who needed a helping hand. She gathered Military Academy cadets, widows, and orphans at her home during the holidays, hosted multiple exchange students in her home, privately provided scholarships to deserving students, adopted and fostered the many cats and dogs that crossed her path, acted as a second mom to many employees, and made an indelible mark on scores of children’s trajectories volunteering at The Boys’ & Girls’ Club LeMoyne Gardens - their cherished Granny Annie. Volunteering was her love language and she believed she was the true winner as recipient of their love. “When you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in” – MLK
Ann worked hard, and loved harder, and if you were her friend, you felt that glow. She was a true, life-long partner to the love of her life, her husband of 57 years, John. She raised 2 strong, independent women with a lust for creativity and travel just like hers. She built special relationships with her three grandchildren. She beat to tune of her own drum, and she wasn’t afraid who knew it. She will be missed by many who knew her well and the countless number of people whose life she touched and about whom she never boasted or bragged.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the charity of your choice or to the Boys and Girls Club of Harlingen, PO Box 1982, Harlingen, TX. 78551 or the Harlingen Humane Society, 1106 Markowsky Ave, Harlingen TX. 78550.
A gathering to celebrate the life of Ann Phillips will be held at the Phillips’ residence, the evening of Saturday, October 7 from six-thirty to nine. The family invites you to join them and to bring your memories of Ann.
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