May Alice Amanda Oestreich Phipps

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May Alice Amanda Oestreich Phipps passed away peacefully at her home on March 3, 2021 in Opelika.

May was born in Stratford, Wisconsin on May 5, 1924, to Henry and Amanda Oestreich. She was the youngest of their seven children and was born in the beautiful farmhouse her father built. She graduated from Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Illinois. As a telephone operator in Chicago, she requested to be transferred to Washington D.C. to be a telephone operator there during World War II. While in Washington, she met her future husband, Paul D Phipps, who was stationed nearby. They were married in Rossville, Georgia, then were stationed at various locations until Paul’s Army service ended.

After Paul graduated from the University of Tennessee, May and Paul moved their growing family to Opelika so Paul could attend Auburn University. May served as a Safety Patrol Officer for Opelika City Schools. She worked tirelessly as a stay-at-home mom, to take care of her husband and seven children. Later in life, she went to nursing school, then worked as an orthopaedic nurse at East Alabama Medical Center until her retirement. There, she was fondly known as “Mrs. May”. She spent her retirement years talking on the phone with family, and numerous Sunday School friends, who kept each other informed about the latest events in their lives and letting each other know for whom to pray.

She came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ at Southside Baptist Church, shortly after moving to Opelika. She has been a faithful member and supporter of First Baptist Church for many years, and attended regularly until her health began to decline.

May was preceded in death by her parents, all her siblings and her husband of 42 years, Paul.

She is survived by her seven children, Betty Perry of Huntsville, Alabama, Peggy Griffin (Ed) of Pelham, Alabama, Paul Phipps (Peggy) of Lawrenceville, Georgia, Dr. Lawrence Phipps (Karen) of Gulf Shores, Alabama, Nancy Murphy of Opelika; Lillian Spivey of Opelika, Charles Phipps (DeeDee) of Opelika; grandchildren, Kim Abbott (Darrin), Rob Selby (Susan), Lyn Pierce (Ben); Dr. Melody Messick (James); Valerie Williams, Dr. Catherine Perkins, Carol Lyn Lathram (John), Rich Perkins; Mandi Murphy, Kelly Walls, Erica Leach (Matt), Katie Dawson (Clay); Heather Ivancic (Brian), Lauren Finklestein (Tyler); Elizabeth Holland (Shannon); Marissa Phipps (Clay), Ethan Phipps; and a nephew she helped raise, Kenneth Jones of Jackson, Mississippi. She is also survived by 24 great-grandchildren, seven great-great-grandchildren, and numerous nephews and nieces who were dearly loved by their Aunt May.

Visitation was held on March 6 from 10 to 11 a.m. at Frederick-Dean Funeral Home in Opelika.

A Memorial was held at the gravesite at 11:30 a.m. at Garden Hills Cemetery in Opelika.


The Memorial will be officiated by her son, Dr. Lawrence H. Phipps, pastor of First Baptist Church, Gulf Shores, Alabama.

In Lieu of flowers, Mrs. Phipps requested donations be made to Opelika’s First Baptist Church, Children’s Ministry.

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