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Conoly Phillips – Beloved Friend and Servant Leader

Field Report by John Faulk

Conoly Phillips was a close friend of CBN since the early 1960s. Pat Robertson personally led him to the Lord over lunch at a Norfolk, Virginia, restaurant in 1964. His struggling automobile business later became one of the most successful dealerships on the East Coast. 

A humble man with a passion for souls, Conoly traveled to Bogota, Colombia, for the opening of CBN’s first international radio station. He was called to run for Norfolk City Council and earned the support of the Christian community, serving from 1976 to 1980, and from 1986 to 2002. He was instrumental in ridding Norfolk of pornographic bookstores and paved the way for downtown revitalization. Conoly began the tradition of opening City Council meetings with prayer, saying, “Never be anywhere of importance without a call from the Lord.” He made an unsuccessful bid for a U.S. Senate seat in 1978, considering his campaign “a ministry of the Lord in calling Christians to active political participation.”

Throughout his personal writings, Conoly Phillips acknowledged God’s hand on his life, business and family. In his later years, he served on the board of directors for Operation Blessing since 2014, on the Regent University board from 1991-1995, as chairman from 2008-2011, and again as a member from 2013 to the present. He also served numerous philanthropic and civic organizations.

Pat Robertson said, “I am saddened by the passing of my dear friend, Conoly Phillips. He has been a dear friend of mine for decades, and his wife is a shining example of someone totally committed to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Conoly was a pioneer in marketing, a pioneer in the sale of automobiles, a pioneer in Christian political involvement, and a pioneer to the faith community.  I prayed with Conoly before his passing and asked that God would send the angels to carry His beloved son to his heavenly resting place. I can say with great confidence that this wonderful man is now fully alive and rejoicing in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

We will deeply miss Conoly’s mentorship and encouragement. He trusted God and sought Him daily. Our love is with Betsy and his family.  

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made at, select “Scholarship Fund”, and note “In memory of Conoly Phillips” in the text box or special instructions.  Mail-in gifts can be sent to Regent University, Office of Advancement, 1000 Regent University Dr, ADM 128, VA Beach, VA 23463 (757.352.4773) with a notation of “In Memory of Conoly Phillips” in the memo line.