Growing up in rural Jay, Jerod Phillips and Marci Philips Postoak watched as their dad read from two books - the Bible and the NFHS rule book for high school sports.

They knew what their father, Buddy, valued through his actions as a godly man, father and grandfather, and as a knowledgeable referee for area sports. 

It was a passion for life he exhibited until his death at the age of 67 on Christmas Eve 2015. 

In 2018, Jerod nominated his father for membership in the Oklahoma Officials Association "OOA" Hall of Fame. The honor was bestowed on Buddy in July 2018 posthumously during a ceremony at the Southmoore High School in Moore.

The 2018 class included Buddy Phillips, Ron Ethridge, David Gore, Eddie Jackson and Mike Whaley. To date, since it was established in 1986 129 officials have been inducted into the hall of fame.

Officials must be retired, be 60 years or older, have served a minimum of 20 years as a game official.

On Saturday, Feb. 2, during the halftime of the Lady Bulldogs/Lady Ridgerunners game in Jay, members of his family including his mother June and his children Jerod and Marci, presented Jay school officials with Buddy's plaque. It will in the foyer of Bulldog Arena in his honor.

Jerod said his father spent his last years in officiating teaching and mentoring younger officials, including himself. 

In 1993, just after his high school graduation, Jerod began officiating with his father. They first officiated Little League football together in both Jay and Grove.

Jerod credits his success, first with the Big 12 Conference refereeing college football to now his work as an NFL officials to his father's teaching. 

Buddy paused twice in his officiating career - once when Jerod and Marci were in high school sports, and later when his grandsons began to get into sports.

"He wanted to travel and watch them," Marci said. 

"That's how much those boys meant to him," Jerod added. 

Jerod said his father taught the officials on his crew how things impacted life both on and off the field. 

"He was dedicated to his community and his service to others," Jerod said. "I was several years into [refereeing] before the light came on and I got it. 

"Refereeing means more than just taking money from a school."

Marci said her father taught her how to care for others.

"He taught me to show respect for everyone, and to never forget where you come from, and always be yourself," Marci said. "He was the best dad and grandpa any family could ask for."

More about Buddy

Buddy officiated high school and small college football games in Oklahoma and Kansas for 21 years, during which he called 24 playoff games.

During his career he started the Northeast Oklahoma Officials Association based in Delaware County. 

The group began with less in 10 members and has since grown to include more than 80 officials. The group provides service to more than 50 schools.

David Ward, an official from the organization, said he will always Buddy as a "dedicated official, a positive example of professionalism to all officials and a friend to all."

"At home or on the road, Buddy was the same, fair, hardworking and a true professional," said John Hanna, Oklahoma Coaches Association Hall of Fame member. "In all situations, sixth and seventh grade or varsity high school games, Buddy was the 'white hat' his crew knew that they could count on for correct decisions when the game was on the line."

The son of June and the late R.T. Phillips, Buddy was a graduate of Jay High School, Northeastern A&M and Oklahoma State University.

He received a master's degree from Northeastern State University. He worked for the USDA’s Farm Service Agency for 35 years and retired on April 30, 2014.

He was a member of Jay's First Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon. He was also a member of the Delaware County Camp of Gideons.

He married Wanda Houck in Aug. 1967. Together they had two children Jerod and Marci. The couple had four grandsons: Trent, Ty, Brady and Hayes Postoak, and one great-grandson Kobe Phillips.