1921 - 2006
Bob Phillips is best known for his work to make The Western Producer the leading farm newspaper in Canada.
Bob was born in 1921 in Regina, he joined the Canadian Army and went overseas to serve his country in the Second World War. After leaving the army in 1944, Bob attended the University of Saskatchewan, obtaining an honours degree in economics and political science. He worked for The Canadian Press in Vancouver and then Toronto before becoming city editor of the Regina Leader-Post. Bob and his wife Tanyss Bell spent two years in England where Bob worked for United Press. This was followed by four years back at The Canadian Press in Toronto.
In 1960, Bob became the founder and first director of economics research for the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool in Regina. That same year he was admitted as a member of the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists. Bob and his staff conducted many studies that helped guide the Pool Board and corporate operations and contributed to provincial and federal farm policy making.
In 1973, Bob transferred to Saskatoon and became General Manager of the Pool publishing division and editor and publisher of The Western Producer and Western Producer Prairie Books. In this capacity, he initiated many changes in the content and quality of the paper, establishing staff reporters at several locations in Western Canada and in Ottawa to provide better news coverage.
As publisher, he elevated the division from a perpetual money loser to profitability. He convinced the owner, the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, to move the operation to a more suitable building in Saskatoonís northern industrial area and computerized typesetting and lithographic printing were established.
Under Bobís guidance, the paper grew in stature as a reliable agricultural news source and as a key print advertising vehicle for agricultural suppliers. A majority of farmers in Western Canada subscribed to the paper and it became a valued reference for others, including academic, government and agri-business people.
Bob retired in 1986, established Bell Phillips Communications Inc. and wrote and published seven social history books. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws from University of Regina in 1988, was named a Fellow of the Agricultural Institute of Canada in 1989 and in 2002 was named to the Order of Canada.
Bob Phillips died May 6, 2006.