Springfield | A faithful and remarkable servant of Jesus Christ went home Thursday night. Melissa Wootton Phillips died July 2 after battling cancer for almost a year. During that time she continued to serve Illinois Baptists admirably in her capacity as Associate Executive Director of the Church Cooperation Team of the Illinois Baptist State Association (IBSA).
“Melissa’s service to the Lord, and to the churches and staff of IBSA over the past 35 years, has been truly immeasurable,” said IBSA Executive Director Nate Adams. “Her professional competence and sacrificial work ethic were always wonderfully complemented by her sweet spirit and servant heart. Whether it was managing finances, personnel policies, our major building renovation, our IBSA camps, or a host of other operations, Melissa served IBSA tirelessly and with great integrity.”
Melissa is survived by her husband, Doug, and two daughters, Laura (who is married to Caleb Adams) and Melinda (who married Adam Holler on June 13), her parents, James and Mary Lou Wootton, and four siblings. Melissa and Doug have been vital and active members of Springfield Southern Baptist Church.
At her passing, Melissa is being remembered as a woman of great faith, a missionary heart from her upbringing as the daughter of missionary parents serving in South Korea, and for her contribution to Southern Baptist work in Illinois.
“While many of us at IBSA travel the state every week to serve churches, Melissa has been the executive who has made that possible by supporting and administering our work from the home office,” Adams said. “Executive Directors have come and gone, but Melissa has been a rock of stability and consistency on which our IBSA staff family and the churches we serve have always been able to depend.
“On a personal level, not everyone probably knows that in 2013, Melissa’s oldest daughter, Laura, married our oldest son, Caleb. So to me, Melissa became more than capable executive or even close work friend. She became family to my family, and our families are now lovingly intertwined. “So on many levels, and in many ways, I will miss her more than words can express. I believe we all will,” Adams said.
Visitation is Monday, July 6, from 4-7 p.m. at Staab Funeral Home in Springfield. The funeral service is Tuesday, July 7, at 11 a.m. at Springfield Southern Baptist Church, with Pastor Mike Keppler and Nate Adams officiating. Additional visitation time at the church will precede the service from 10-11 a.m. Burial will follow at Oak Ridge Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Springfield Southern Baptist Church Building Fund.