Deceased March 2019
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Phil will be remembered for his generous spirit, his personal interest in other people and in ideas and his subtle humor. Classmates can be grateful, especially, for his several terms of service as class secretary over 11 years, taking extended care to interview us to make his class news interesting and well crafted. Phil listed three points about himself: “A need to know.” “A search for essence.” “A love of language.” All three were ways of seeing himself as “an idea and concept person,” “always looking for perspective and context.” Yes, context, a high-currency word on campus in our day that Phil took seriously.
After Amherst his family and even his neighbors remember Phil for being a perfectionist, practicing his tennis swings or his golf strokes in the house or even outdoors at night under a street light. And he had the same intensity for playing both jazz and classical piano for hours from The Great American Songbook or pieces from Chopin and others.
Born in Buffalo, N.Y., Phil prepared for Amherst at the Nichols School, joined Alpha Delta Phi and majored in philosophy. He loved being basketball manager and also served as fraternity secretary and vice chairman of Olio.
After Amherst, Phil served in the navy on a destroyer, studied business for a year at Harvard and then launched his 50-some year career in advertising and public relations, first as advertising manager for Pan Am, then with IBM in corporate recruitment advertising and next by starting in 1970 his own firm, Corporate Presence, Inc., a pioneer in working with information technology related to marketing, consulting and human resources. It also, happily, enabled his wife, Susan, to join in by contributing her graphic designs.
Phil and Susan and their three children lived in White Plains, N.Y., where Phil also served as chair of the public library. In 1994 they moved to Cape Cod and Phil, only semi-retired, continued to work before moving to Saco, Maine.
Phil died in March 2019 and left Susan, his wife of 58 years; daughters Lisa ’84 and Julie; and son Jeffrey.
George Edmonds ’53
with assistance from Susan Ransom