Bypass sign

The C.C. “Sonnie” Phillips Bypass was unveiled Sept. 3, honoring the man who was instrumental in bringing the W.Va. 54 bypass to reality. Phillips, seated in the golf cart with sunglasses, served as mayor of Mullens from 1972 until 1976. He also launched the city hall and municipal pool projects during his term. Recovering from a stroke he suffered earlier this year, Phillips watched the ceremonies and ribbon cutting from a golf cart.

Clifford Charles, better known as C.C., “Sonnie” Phillips has worn a lot of hats during his 86 years, including city mayor from 1972 until 1976.

During that time, Phillips was instrumental in bringing about the state Rt. 54 bypass around Mullens, a new city hall and a new municipal pool.

While his family is quick to point out none of the three projects were completed during Phillips’ term, he worked diligently to begin the projects and continued his support after he left office.

The road project was renamed the “C. C. ‘Sonnie’ Phillips Bypass” by the West Virginia Legislature in February.

Phillips suffered a stroke a few days before the family was notified, according to Terri Lea Smith, Phillips’ daughter.

Smith said she can remember going door-to-door in the community after school every day with her mother, Betty Jo, to collect donations for the pool when her dad was mayor of Mullens.

Currently recovering at home, Phillips was honored during ceremonies Sept. 3 unveiling the DOH sign exhibiting his name.

The Phillips Bypass runs from the state Rt. 54 intersection with county Rt. 4 to the intersection with state Rt. 16.

Looking on from a golf cart, Phillips was emotionally lauded by his family for his love and support throughout the years, as well as his dedication to his country, community, and church.

He was a teacher from 1951 until 1972, then was principal of Mullens High from 1972 until 1988.

Phillips has served on numerous boards of directors, including the American Red Cross, Wyoming County Health Department, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, among others.

“Teachers still look up to him now,” emphasized David Cox, Wyoming County Division of Highways supervisor.

Cox said it is appropriate the bypass be named to honor Phillips. The definition of “road” is to provide smooth passage for carrying a load, Cox explained.

“... The man knows how to carry a heavy load.”

Phillips’ grandson, Taylor Smith, said he didn’t know where his grandfather got the nickname “Sonnie,” but he surmised it is from the “light, warmth, and happiness Papa Sonnie has brought into our lives.”

Trending Video

This Week's Circulars

Recommended for you