TULSA, Okla. (KFOR) – A celebration of life for a beloved Tulsa doctor who was targeted and killed in a mass shooting will be livestreamed Saturday.

The funeral for Dr. Preston Phillips will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 11 at Boston Avenue Church, 1301 S. Boston Ave., in Tulsa.

The service will be livestreamed starting at 12:45 p.m. Saturday on Boston Avenue Church’s YouTube channel, youtu.be/cFExp6xE6YM.

image of shooting victim
Dr. Preston Phillips. Image courtesy St. Francis Hospital System

Phillips’ family issued the following statement on Friday:

“There are no words to describe the gut-wrenching heartbreak we are experiencing. Losing Preston has created a void in our lives that can never be filled. This beautiful, gracious, brilliant husband and father meant the world to us and many others. He was a humble man and we are humbled by the reverberation his loss has created around the world.

Our profound loss is further deepened with the heartbreak that other lives were taken and people were harmed. To the other families impacted by this tragedy, we know what you are feeling, and we send our heartfelt condolences.

Our lives are forever changed. The impact of his loss spans continents. From his home in Tulsa to the Togo clinic, where the operating room bears his name, Preston’s legacy will endure. For the people who were his patients, he became not just their healer, but their hero. Beyond his orthopedic practice, he was a mentor to many and a friend to all.

Preston was the essence of the man that God would want us all to be. He lived a life of service that was cruelly cut short by violence.

It honors Preston’s spirit of service to hear that his colleagues are working frantically to recruit an orthopedist to journey to Africa later this year in his place to ensure patients scheduled for surgeries receive the care they need – even in his absence and as we grieve.”

THE FAMILY OF DR. PRESTON PHILLIPS

Phillips and three other victims were shot and killed on June 1 at the St. Francis Medical Complex’s Natalie Building, located near 61st St. and Yale Ave.

Michael Louis, a patient of Phillips’, went to the Natalie Building just before 5 p.m. that day, armed with an AR-15 assault rifle he had just purchased and a pistol.

Louis entered the building’s second floor and opened fire, killing Phillips, Dr. Stephanie Husen, receptionist Amanda Glenn and patient William Love. Louis then killed himself.

(L-R) Dr. Preston Phillips, Dr. Stephanie Husen, receptionist Amanda Glenn, and patron William Love
(L-R) Dr. Preston Phillips, Dr. Stephanie Husen, receptionist Amanda Glenn, and patron William Love

Police found a letter the shooter wrote, stating he intended to kill Phillips and anyone who got in his way. Louis blamed Phillips for physical pain he was experiencing after surgery.

The deadly mass shooting devastated St. Francis’ family of employees, the Tulsa community and the state of Oklahoma as a whole.

Phillips is remembered by friends, colleagues and patients as both a kind, gentle man and an excellent, thoughtful doctor.

“He saved me… It’s like I lost a family member,” Missy Fox, a patient Dr. Phillips performed two surgeries on, told KFOR last week. “He held my hand, he was so kind-hearted about it… He took a lot of effort into making you feel comfortable. He came and visited me in the hospital several times making sure I was OK. I look at that as a true friendship, [as] a doctor that is caring.” 

Phillips was a 1990 Harvard Medical School graduate with numerous other degrees. Cliff Robertson, President and CEO of St. Francis Health System, called his death “the ultimate loss for St. Francis and for Tulsa.”

These additional remarks were also shared by Phillips’ family on Friday:

“As a husband to Melody, Preston was her best friend and the love of her life. As a father to three, he helped create a home where the love was clear, unhidden and out loud. He set a standard that inspired each of his children’s personal growth. Even with his great accomplishments, he did not expect them to fill his shoes. His only desire was that they try their hardest, do their best and be good and honest people.

For Preston’s son and two daughters, childhood was, in part, defined by relationships he formed with patients from his orthopedic practice. The family was informally “adopted” by many patients that became pseudo grandparents, aunts, uncles and lifelong friends. There were countless holidays and visits spent with those beautiful souls. At times, it was a stretch for the children to grasp that they weren’t related to these chosen family members by anything other than the bond of friendship.

Preston was proud to be from a family of nine children. He was number six. He loved spending time with his five brothers and three sisters. Along his life journey, he accumulated friends that became family, forging relationships that endured across years and miles.

Preston’s competitiveness is renowned. Whether it be dominoes or Bid Whist, he enjoyed a good game and the friendly banter that always ensued. He was giant of a man – big, tall and strong. He loved the game of tennis. It quickly became a welcomed way to work out after a long workday and work week.

Preston’s hands said a lot about him. They were large – matching his 6-foot, 5-inch frame. At the same time, they were gentle, controlled by noticeably muscled forearms to perform intricate surgeries with precision. When he greeted you, he had an openness that you could see in his hands – palms up, arms open – that set you at ease and embraced you with his full attention.

He loved life and lived it to its fullest.”

THE FAMILY OF DR. PRESTON PHILLIPS

Phillips’ family asks that contributions be made, in lieu of flowers, to the Dr. Preston J. Phillips Scholarship Fund c/o Tulsa Community Foundation.

“The Scholarship Fund will enhance educational opportunities through scholarship and mentorship, for racial and ethnic minority high school students from the Greater Tulsa Area seeking to attend institutions of higher learning. A particular emphasis will be placed on the cultivation, of the yet-to-be fully realized potential of racial and ethnic minority students,” according to the scholarship’s mission statement.