Katharine Phillips was born on June 28, 1923 in Mobile, the older sister of Marine Sidney Phillips, and John Phillips, who was born in 1931. Their father, Sidney C. Phillips, who had been wounded in the first World War, was a teacher who became principle of Murphy High School in l942.
Phillips was a sophomore at Auburn when Pearl Harbor was attacked. She spent the first few years of the war traveling back and forth to Mobile on vacations -- frequently riding the train with her good friend and neighbor Tom Gallloway. She returned to Mobile after graduation in 1944, lived at home and got a job in a day care center for shipyard workers’ children. She regularly volunteered at the Red Cross Canteen at the railroad station, serving coffee and donuts to the men on troops trains as they passed through. She drove officers around town as a volunteer with the Red Cross motor pool as well, and corresponded frequently with all the boys she knew who were stationed overseas. She learned to cook without sugar, butter, and other essential ingredients, saved fat and tin cans, and followed the news of the war in the newsreels, on the radio, and in the Mobile Register, scanning the daily casualty lists for familiar names.
When the war ended, she got a job as a stewardess for Waterman Airlines. For one year, she flew all over the world, and saw for herself the extent of the devastation in Western Europe. In 1947 she married Harvey Singer, a Waterman pilot from Oak Park, Illinois. (He had been a naval pilot during the war, flying with a squadron that evacuated the wounded from combat zones to medical facilities.) They had two daughters, and four grandchildren. For many years they lived in Ohio, returning to Mobile in 1970. While her daughters were in college, she started her own antique linen business which she still runs today.