501 Life Magazine | Couples: Ingram and Mary (Powell) Philips
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Couples: Ingram and Mary (Powell) Philips

Ingram and Mary Philips remain involved in the Care Cap Connections project, which they started in 2006 in Fairfield Bay. (Mike Kemp photo)

HIM    Ingram Philips 

Native of: Miami.

Where did you grow up: Black Mountain, N.C.

Education: Doctor of ministry; master of divinity; and bachelor’ degrees in journalism and sociology.

Job: Chaplain (colonel), U.S. Army (retired).

Why did you choose your vocation: Patriotic service. My ancestors were American revolutionaries in the southern states and my dad and uncles were World War II combat veterans.

Community activities: Arkansas veterans commissioner (governor’s appointment); chaplain to Arkansas veterans home (North Little Rock) and Fairfield Bay police; Indian Rock constable (Fairfield Bay, fifth term); Fairfield bay police reserve; president of Volunteer America – 1776, nonprofit, public cancer charity

Church activities: Men’s club and choir, Presbyterian Kirk of the Hills in Fairfield Bay.

Hobbies/special interests: Read, travel, nature gaze from my deck.

How would you describe yourself: Sincere.

What is one thing people don’t know about you: Shy and prefers to avoid recognition.

Most enjoyed weekend activity: Sunday afternoon nap.

What is your motto: Be honest and work hard.

What do you enjoy most about living in the 501: Great people and great place.

HER    Mary (Powell) Philips

Native of: Lymington, Hampshire, England.

Where did you grow up: England and Venezuela (when very young) and Texarkana, Texas.

Education: BSED (Texas Tech) and master’s degree (Texas A&M).

Job: District 4 Justice of the Peace in Van Buren County; founder/director, Volunteer America-1776 (known as “Care Cap Connections”) cancer charity; retired  educator (K-12) after 30 years.

Why did you choose your vocation: I always wanted to teach. I got my start teaching in high school with Sunday school kindergartners.

Parents: Mary Cole McCracken of Greenbrier and the late John “Buck” Powell.

Community activities:  Saturday cashier at Wear & Share local thrift shop; conduct “sew-ins” for care caps in Fairfield Bay, Greenbrier, Little Rock, Jacksonville, Vilonia, Clinton, Greers Ferry, Hot Springs Village and Diamondhead.

Church activities: Choir; annual bazaar crafter at Presbyterian Kirk of the Hills (Fairfield Bay).

Hobbies/special interests: Read, sew, craft, quilt.

How would you describe yourself: Busy.

What is one thing people don’t know about you: I’m shy.

Most enjoyed weekend activity: Time with my husband.

What is your motto: “Carpe diem!”

What do you enjoy most about living in the 501: The slower pace, friendly people and living in a real community.


City: Fairfield Bay.

How we met: In Army chapel while Ingram was stationed in Germany and Mary was teaching on the post.

Wedding bells: July 2, 1988, in Mary’s parents’ Texas backyard in 95 degree weather after both had flown from Germany. Ingram met the Powells two hours before the ceremony. Mary met his mother in Florida while they honeymooned.

Children: Leigh, Susan, Eric and granddaughter, Cate.

Pets: Sophie, queen of the Maltese and the household.

Family activities enjoyed together: Read, travel, talk and talk and talk. (Best friends.)

CARE CAP CONNECTIONS: The Care Cap Connections project started in 2006 in Fairfield bay.  Mary’s sister was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer and given a few months to live.  Mary made bright, soft head scarves as Linda lost her hair. 

Linda gave many away during chemo sessions. Giveaways outpaced one seamstress but quilting group friends and others joined the effort. Mary formed teams and a factory-line work called “sew-ins.” It is all volunteers (including the Philips) who rely to this day on donations.  

More than 85,000 care caps have been produced using 42 1/2 miles of fabrics. They have been shipped (by Ingram and his buddies) to 23 cancer centers around the state and nation.  

The online presence has multiplied the reach globally. Every cap is freely given and each includes a special card to the receiver from those who worked on its production.  

The project has bloomed much, much further than could be imagined by either of the Philips and seems to have its own energy. The charity has been recognized with an Arkansas Community Service Award and by proclamations from both the state senate and house.  

For more information, visit carecaps.org.