Philip Thomas Pegues was born August 22, 1923 in the Dallas, Texas Baylor Hospital. His mother was Ethel Lucille Smith. His father was Oliver Thomas Pegues, born in Longview, Texas. Oliver was a veteran of three military engagements with the U.S. Army, including the Spanish American War. Phil passed away on January 26, 2020 in Irving, Texas.
About 1929 the family moved to Eastland, Texas where Philip started to school with the nickname of “Pete” pinned on him by an aunt who said his P.T. initials very fast. “P.T.” He entered public schools there, joining the Boy Scouts of America and earning the Eagle Scout Badge with three palms. He became a trombone soloist and band drum major before graduation in May of 1941. During his high school times, he attended summer sessions at Hardin-Simmons University under the direction of the Vandercook School of Music.
After graduation, “Pete” began his higher education at Texas Wesleyan College in Ft. Worth, Texas. His half-sister, Beth Maben of Ft. Worth, convinced him to use his real name and he became known there as Philip or Phil.
As we all know, December 7, 1941 was “a day of infamy.” Phil, like most other men at T.W.C went down to sign up on Monday morning. First he tried the Marines, then the Navy and finally the Army. He was turned down by all the services. However, his number came up in the draft in time to earn 3 battle stars and take part in the “battle of the bulge.” Would you believe – they gave Phil, who could not pass visual army entrance exams – a 50 caliber machine gun. Phil had some interesting experiences toward the end of the war when he worked with a French Marquis Captain searching German War Criminals.
All of that in just 21 years. But, the best was yet to come!
Phil received an honorable discharge in the fall of 1945 and resumed his musical education at North Texas State College in Denton, Texas where he served as Drill Master for the North Texas Eagle Band.
In the summer of ’46, Phil met and started dating Doris Mae Thompson in her Senior year at Texas State College for Women. Doris graduated in February 1947 and went to work in Dallas. Phil was offered a job as Field Executive with the Ft. Worth Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He accepted the job and asked Doris to marry. They were married in Marshall, Texas, April 6, 1947 and had 57 years together. They had no children of their own. Phil served as District Executive, Field Director, Assistant Scout Executive, Deputy Scout Executive and Finance Director in cities across Texas and one two year tour in Frankfurt, Germany. In Texas, they served in Ft. Worth, Pampa, Lubbock, San Antonio, Austin, and Corpus Christi. Phil and Doris retired in 1984 and moved to a 10 acre home they had built near La Grange, Texas. In 1994 they moved to Hide-A-Way Lake and finally to Marshall on July 14, 1999.
Phil served respectively, as a youth group Sunday School Teacher and Deacon in the Methodist and Disciples of Christ Churches.
Phil enjoyed music, was an amateur radio enthusiast since 1955, learned to fly in 1966 and continued flying small planes until his retirement. He also was “into” computers, history, philosophy and astronomy. He earned numerous professional awards including Scoutings Fellowship and is a three bead Woodbadge veteran. He was a pioneer in the development of the Explorer Program for older boys and girls in the Boy Scouts of America, and was among the first to design programs akin to todays’ school programs. In 1994, he was given the “Outstanding Support” award for his three year service as Regional Training Director for the Military Affiliate Radio Stations membership. You might note that the acronym for that organization is M.A.R.S. or MARS. He has called himself “THE MAN FROM MARS” since 1955.
Phil had a philosophical attitude about death. He called it “TRANSFORMING.” He believed he had breathed particles of air Jesus had breathed – and therein had what the Greeks called enthust – the breath of God. He had some favorite quotes.
ONE WAS FROM OVID’S “METAMORPHOSES” PYTHAGORAS IS TEACHING: “NOTHING REMAINS THE SAME: THE GREAT RENEWER, NATURE, MAKES FORM FROM FORM, AND, OH, BELIEVE ME THAT NOTHING EVER DIES. WHAT WE CALL BIRTH IS THE BEGINNING OF A DIFFERENCE, NO MORE THAN THAT, AND DEATH IS ONLY CEASING OF WHAT HAD BEEN BEFORE. THE PARTS MAY VARY SHIFTING FROM HERE TO THERE, HITHER AND YON, AND BACK AGAIN, BUT THE GREAT SUM IS CONSTANT.”
AND SOCRATES, AS HE PREPARED TO DRINK THE HEMLOCK: “BE OF GOOD CHEER AND THINK THIS CERTAIN, THAT A GOOD MAN NO EVIL CAN HAPPEN, EITHER IN LIFE OR IN DEATH.”
Phil studied the Christian Bible. He read much of the Koran, the teachings of the Buddha and the Vedas. Here is another favorite quote: “IN HEAVEN THERE IS NO FEAR AT ALL. DEATH IS NOT THERE, NOR IN THAT PLACE DOES THE THOUGHT OF GROWING OLD MAKE ONE TREMBLE. THERE, FREE FROM HUNGER AND FROM THIRST AND FAR FROM THE REACH OF SORROW, ALL REJOICE AND ARE GLAD.”
His final admonition was:
WATCH THE DAY FADE AWAY.
LISTEN FOR THE SIGH IN THE TREES.
FEEL THE LIGHT TOUCH ON YOUR CHEEK.
I AM THERE WITH THOSE YOU HAVE LOVED AND WHO LOVE YOU.