Howard Jay Phillips was born in Boston on Feb. 3, 1941, and grew up in nearby Brighton, Mass. His father, Frederick, ran an insurance agency; his mother, the former Gertrude Goldberg, was a homemaker. Though he was raised Jewish, he became a Christian in the 1970s. He was present at the 1960 conference at the home of William F. Buckley Jr. in Sharon, Conn., that created the conservative organization Young Americans for Freedom. Mr. Phillips graduated from Harvard in 1962.
Mr. Phillips’s integrity as a conservative was on display in President Richard M. Nixon’s administration. In early 1973, the president signaled his intention to withhold financing from the Office of Economic Opportunity, an antipoverty agency with roots in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s war on poverty. The president named Mr. Phillips acting director and charged him with dismantling it.
Along with Richard Viguerie, Paul Weyrich, Terry Dolan and others, Mr. Phillips was a leader of the New Right, a movement that gave more clout to the right wing of the Republican Party in the 1970s and ’80s
In addition to his sister Susan Phillips Bari, Mr. Phillips is survived by his wife, the former Margaret Blanchard, whom he married in 1964; three sons, Douglas, Bradford and Samuel; three daughters, Elizabeth Lants (known by her middle name, Amanda), Alexandra and Jennifer; and 18 grandchildren.more » « less