Constance Cline Phillips was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1924 to a businessman and a World War I nurse. She was raised in Concord, North Carolina, and graduated from Concord High School in 1942. She then enrolled at the Woman’s College (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) and also took summer courses at Appalachian State Teachers College (now Appalachian State University). After having difficulties with her course requirements, Phillips joined the Women’s Army Corps in February 1945 .
Phillips attended basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, and was then sent to Camp Atterbury, Indiana, where she attended X-ray school. Phillips was stationed at Nichols General Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, from August 1945 to March 1946. In April and May of 1946 she was stationed at Ashford General Hospital in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia. Phillips was transferred to Valley Forge General Hospital in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, in June of 1946 and was there until August. On 22 August 1946, Phillips was discharged from the army at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
After her discharge, Phillips returned to finish her education at Woman’s College on the GI Bill. She worked for a summer on a State of North Carolina mobile X-ray unit. She married in September 1948 and went on to teach in Wilmington, Delaware, for a year, while her husband played professional football for the Baltimore Colts. She also lived in Richmond and nearby Midlothian, Virginia, while raising three children.