Look Back ... to the passing of a gifted gospel singer, Idella Phillips, 1998

Sep. 4—Sept. 4, 1948: The date fell on a Saturday during a 12-year period (1940-52) when The Star didn't publish on that day of the week.

Sept. 4, 1998, in The Star: Idella "Dell" Patton Phillips, whose gospel singings and beautiful voice were known throughout the region — even the state — died earlier this week at her home in Roanoke after a long illness. She was 71. "Dell could take the simplest song and make it special. She sang with such passion and feeling that it had to have been a gift from God. She could electrify a congregation like none other," recalled Charlotte Clark-Frieson, director of Clark Funeral Home and a lifelong friend of Mrs. Phillips. A pretty and petite woman, Mrs. Phillips was born in Wedowee and grew up in Anniston, where she attended Cobb Avenue High School in the early 1940s. Her husband, the Rev. Beotis Phillips, who died in 1970, was a widely known and passionately loved Baptist preacher throughout eastern Alabama. Her funeral is to be tomorrow at First Baptist Church in Roanoke. Also this date: Munford's senior quarterback Chris Stephens is in his fourth year as a starter for the Lions and is a two-sport blue-chip prospect, excelling in both baseball and football. In football he's the Lions' standout quarterback, while in baseball he competes as a pitcher, shortstop and outfielder. Someday he'll have to make a choice between the two sports, but for now, Stephens is having too much fun. His father, Leon, is the football program's offensive coordinator, and his older brother Noel is a former Munford quarterback himself.