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Obituary - Dr. William "Bill" Phelps

Showing and raising American Saddlebreds were Bill’s passions. He got great joy from showing the amateur walk-trot horse The Marrying Man.

Dr. William "Bill" Phelps, 67, of Bluff City, Tennessee, passed away Thursday, March 12 at the NHC Healthcare in Bristol, Virginia. His parents, William H. Phelps, Jr. and Evelyn S. Phelps, precede him in death.

Bill was born in Bristol, Virginia and lived his entire life in the Bristol/Bluff City area. He received his B.S. degree from ETSU in 1969 and went on to receive his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from ETSU also. He was a member of the Bluff City Methodist Church and served on various committees, Administrative Council and as a Sunday School teacher.

Bill taught English and drama for 42 years with the Washington County School System, impacting over 5,000 John S Battle High School students. He was elected Teacher Of The Year on two separate occasions and Washington County Virginia Teacher of the Year.

A lover of dogs, Bill’s passion was raising and showing American Saddlebred horses. He was best known in the show ring with the champion amateur walk-trot horse, The Marrying Man.

His association with Carter Cox’s Woodstock Farm was a successful venture. He purchased a two-year-old from Walter and Tandy Patrick named Freedom Reins. She was a daughter of Sultan’s Starmaker and Delightful Affair, a daughter of the great Wing Commander mare, Delightful Time. She won the ASHA Three-Year-Old Three-Gaited Sweepstakes with Jerry Hutson who was working for Cox at the time. Freedom Reins went on with Cox for a couple of years and then Bill showed her to good ribbons at Lexington and Louisville.

Her greatest accomplishment would be as a broodmare. She is the dam of It’s Only Money Honey, Royal Reins, Major Rimron and the multi-titled three-gaited star Ribbons And Reins, currently being shown by Stacey Kipper Perrelli. Ribbons And Reins was a reserve world’s champion as a three-year-old with Carter Cox in the ASR National Fine Harness Futurity. The Periaptor daughter was trimmed as a four-year-old, winning the junior stake at Indy Charity followed by thirds and fourths at Lexington and Louisville. 

Bill is survived by his brother, Charles Phelps and wife Dianne; and nieces Alicia Phelps and Melanie McCarraher and family.




He took great pride in breeding and raising nice horses with master horseman Carter Cox as his consultant/trainer. Carter showed the homebred Ribbons And Reins with great success for Bill.

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