George E. Phillips helped to save Pauline E. Porz from drowning, Vermilion, Ohio, July 5, 1969. In very swift current in the flooded Vermilion River, Mrs. Porz, 48, lost control of her cabin cruiser; and she suffered a back injury when the craft was damaged by being swept under a bridge which was only five feet above the water. Phillips, 34, marina owner, and two other men in a 15-foot racing boat with an outboard motor started after the drifting cruiser, fearing that Mrs. Porz would be drowned when the craft reached a bridge farther downstream with only one foot of clearance. Dodging much debris, Phillips piloted the boat into deep water at midstream and overtook the larger craft. He turned his boat into the current and maneuvered it so that the pointed bow was against the cruiser’s stem. By prodding the cruiser, Phillips made a crack in its stern; and by inserting the bow of his boat, he was better able to control the cruiser. Mrs. Porz was lying on the deck of the cockpit. One of the other men, a salesman, climbed onto the forward deck of the racing boat and thence into the cruiser’s cockpit. Phillips then disengaged his boat and moved to alongside the larger craft. The third man grasped the cruiser and held it against the racing boat. The salesman then lifted Mrs. Porz to the gunwale. Holding the cruiser with one hand, the other man pulled Mrs. Porz into the racing boat. Both boats were within 1,200 feet of the low bridge. After the salesman had climbed into the racing boat, the other man released his hold on the cruiser; and it was carried to the low bridge, where it capsized and sank. With four persons aboard, the racing boat had freeboard of only about 13 inches as Phillips piloted it to an area from where Mrs. Porz was taken to a hospital for treatment of her back injury.
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George E. Phillips, 82, of Vermilion, Ohio, died on June 11, 2017, at his home after a brief illness. He was born to Earl and Martha (Garber) Phillips on Feb. 22, 1935, in Lorain, Ohio, and had been a lifelong Vermilion resident.
Phillips, an Army veteran, owned and operated Valley Harbor Marina, a full-service marina with 400 docks located on the Vermilion River. His life revolved around boats and the marina, which he built in 1966. He also was the service director for the city of Vermilion for 18 years and served on the Vermilion Port Authority.
Phillips was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church,Vermilion. He received the Carnegie Medal for a water rescue during the 1969 flood in Vermilion.
His first wife, Sarah “Sally” Phillips, preceded him in death. He also was married to Dolores (Kuhn) Phillips for 30 years.
(Edited from an obituary provided by the family.)