James (Jim) H Phillips, age 79 passed on Friday March 20, 2020. Jim was a U.S. Army veteran, a graduate of Purdue University and a journalist with the Associated Press for 20 years. After retirement from the A.P. Jim returned to Goshen to care for his aged mother and began writing a weekly outdoor column for the Goshen News.
Jim was a founding member of the Little Elkhart Chapter of Trout Unlimited and helped steer us into what we are today. Jim was instrumental in the establishment of Indiana’s only “Catch and Release” regulations on the Little Elkhart River, Cobus Creek and Solomon Creek. Jim’s ability to mend words, foresee and quell arguments were paramount in dealing with Indiana’s Governmental bureaucracy in writing our Catch and Release proposal. Without his help LECTU would have floundered in this endeavor.
President Mike Beachy said “Jim is the one who got me into fly fishing”. Back in 2001, Jim and Mike were fishing the Little Elkhart River on the opening day. Mike had brought an old fiberglass fly rod and a small box of old crusty flies along with his spinning gear. After catching and releasing several trout on spinning gear Beachy traded out his normal gear for the fly rod. Jim coached him into catching trout with the fly gear. That was it, Beachy was hooked.
Jim was the kind of guy that loved to play Devil’s advocate. That made him come across as kind of a cranky argumentative fellow but in reality he helped us to rethink issues and be observant of how the general public might view our problems and solutions.