GREENSBORO Albert (Al) Simmons Phelps, age 84, died January 20, 2013, in Greensboro, N.C. in his sleep, of natural causes.
Al was born to Elizabeth Grist Simmons and Hugh Alvin Phelps in Washington, NC on December 8, 1928. He graduated from Washington High School. He was an exceptional student, graduating with an academic college scholarship. He also was a standout athlete in three sports, football, basketball, and baseball (his favorite), being elected co-captain for all three for the class of '47. In Al's late years in life he was elected to the Washington High School sports "Walk of Fame" for his performance in athletics while in high school. After high school graduation he entered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While at the University he was a brother of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity. After his college days Al briefly became a sports writer for The Washington Daily News, before enlisting in the US Army. While in the Army he was chosen to attend OCS and graduated a Second Lt.. He served from 1951 to 1953 at Fort Knox, Kentucky as an armored-cavalry officer.
During his career years, Al began in airline customer service, eventually becoming manager of the VIP Center at Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. From there he changed fields and went into the hotel industry in Washington, D.C. rising to hotel general management. After almost twenty years he retired and moved to Charlotte, N.C. becoming a consultant to the travel industry.
During his retirement he married Laura Bryan Woodward Pharr. They spent nineteen happy years together in Charlotte before her death on August 24, 2004 after a courageous fight with cancer.
Al was also preceded in death by his mother and father and older brother Hugh Alvin Phelps, Jr. and older sister Elizabeth Phelps Wheatley Irby.
He is survived by nephews, Rex Hunter Wheatley, Jr. and Walter Scott Irby, III, and Laura's nieces, Maura Smith Collins, Penny Smith May, and Mary Bryan Griswold Smith. Laura's nieces were also Al's loving caretakers until his death.
In memory of Al, contributions may be made to any junior or high school athletic programs of the donor's choice.
Online condolences may be made at haneslineberryfuneralhomes.com. Hanes Lineberry North Elm Chapel is assisting the Phelps family.