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Councilman Phipps dies at 44
Rob Phipps, who was elected to another term as a member of the Ceres City Council, died suddenly Sunday, the victim of an apparent heart attack. He was 44.

Paramedics were called to Phipps' house at 8:20 a.m. He was transported to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto where he was declared dead at 9:14 a.m.

"Rob's passing comes as a great shock to his family, friends, his fellow Council Members, City staff and the Ceres community," said City Manager Brad Kilger. "Ceres was Rob's home and he always wanted the best for his fellow citizens, settling for nothing less."

Phipps had not been experiencing significant health problems other than a bad back which stopped him from actively campaigning for re-election last month. He participated in last week's council meeting, with one of his last votes being to increase salaries of city workers to bring them more in line with what neighboring similar cities are paying.

Phipps was slated to be sworn into office on Friday. He seemed excited about the future of Ceres during the campaign.

Phipps was a golf pro at his family-owned River Oaks Golf Course. His first city experience was a two-year stint on the Ceres Planning Commission. Phipps ran third place in the November 2001 City Council election, barely losing out in his bid for a seat. Because Eric Ingwerson resigned to become mayor, there was a council vacancy and Phipps was selected to serve and was seated Jan. 3, 2002. Phipps was elected in his own right in November 2003. He was re-elected last month.

Phipps was appointed Vice Mayor by Mayor Anthony Cannella in December 2005.

Phipps was born in Fremont and later moved to Hickman as a youngster with his parents, Jim and Carol Phipps. He came to Ceres in 1971. He lost his two brothers to cancer and a plane crash in Alaska.

Besides his parents, Phipps is survived by his daughter, Lindsay, and a sister.