Lawrence Edward Phillips

May 6, 1933 ~ August 13, 2020 (age 87)


Lawrence Edward Phillips, “Larry”, age 87, formerly of Malta, Montana, passed away peacefully on Thursday, August 13th, 2020 at John Muir Hospital in Concord, California of heart failure. Larry was born on May 6, 1933 in Glasgow, Montana to the late Walter (William) and Tennie (Hawkins) Phillips and was the youngest of three boys. Lawrence and his brothers grew up on a large sheep ranch in Phillips County, with no electricity or other modern conveniences 22 miles from the nearest town, Malta, Montana. Phillips County was named after the late senator and Larry’s grandfather, Benjamin D. Phillips. The boys spent their childhood riding horses, shooting magpies, playing in the barn and climbing trees. After the depression, cold winters, World War II and the drought, the family moved to Oakland, California. Larry attended Piedmont High School and was awarded Eagle Scout by the National Council of The Boy Scouts of America for Troop 2 in 1950. After graduation, Larry attended UC Berkeley and then went on to graduate from UCSF School of Dentistry. He was awarded UC Dental School Man of the Year in 1956. Larry was employed as a pediatric dentist for two years in Walnut Creek and then he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was stationed in Verdun, France for 3 years as a Captain and worked in the dental clinic on the army base. During his time in France, Larry lived life to the fullest! He was a member of the U.S. Army Golf Team and explored Europe with friends from the service. After leaving the military, Larry worked at a busy dental clinic on Santa Clara Avenue in Alameda, California for more than 20 years and was involved in the Alameda Elks Lodge, Sierra Club, American Dental Association, California Alumni Association, and Encinal Yacht Club. Larry was a competitive sailor at the helm of Sprite, a Cal 20. Larry, along with his brother Glen, won many races in the San Francisco Bay. Larry met the love of his life and partner of 51 years, Diane Dougherty, at a Sierra Club event in Oakland in 1964. Diane and Larry married at Christ Episcopal Church in Alameda on May 17th, 1969 and had one daughter, Karen, a few years later. After many wonderful years in Alameda, the family moved to Orinda, California. Larry was a true adventurer throughout life and spent his free time hiking, skiing, fishing, golfing and traveling. Diane and Larry would spend each winter in Florida and every Fall the couple would pick a new place to visit. Summers were often spent camping with family and friends in Donner Euer Valley in Tahoe. Later in life Larry “Papa” was constantly surrounded by his four loving grandchildren including Benjamin (15), Joseph (13), Johnny (10) and Grace (4) who also reside in Orinda. The children loved Papa’s stories from ranching days, adventures in the army and his travels around the world. Larry spent several hours each week reading, building models, and teaching the importance of brushing teeth to each of his grandchildren. Larry will be truly missed! “What I love about Papa most is when he hugs me,” said Grace, age 4, on August 13th 2020. Larry was kind, patient, loving, diligent, bright and caring. Larry’s older brother, Donald, preceded him in death. Larry is survived by his beloved wife Diane Dougherty Phillips and brother Glen Phillips, daughter Karen Phillips Boccabella, son-in-law John R. Boccabella, grandchildren, Benjamin, Joseph, Johnny and Grace Boccabella as well as numerous wonderful relatives and friends. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations are made in the name of Lawrence Edward Phillips to the Truckee Donner Land Trust (a registered 501c3) to support their mission to preserve and protect open space in the Northern Sierra. Donations can be sent to Truckee Donner Land Trust, PO Box 8816, Truckee CA 96162 or online@

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