Deceased January 11, 2021

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In Memory

Phil died on Jan. 11 after a long illness. He grew up in New Rochelle, N.Y., and graduated from its high school. As an undergraduate, Phil majored in English, played tennis and worked with the automobile association. He was also in the Glee Club, was on the Student staff and was a member of the Lord Jeff Club.

After Amherst, Phil spent two years in the U.S. Army and then earned a law degree from Syracuse University and a master’s in corporate law from New York University. He worked briefly for a law firm in Lower Manhattan before opening his own practice on Staten Island. There, Phil primarily served an underrepresented clientele. He retired at age 82 due to health issues.

Phil worked tirelessly and never planned to retire, never spoke ill of anyone and held no prejudices. John Hammond ’55 remembers Phil as “gentle, quiet and kind,”; he “always seemed to be in his single room with the door shut” and lent John his car for an evening. While an undergraduate, Phil and Hal Kolb ’55 went over to the Lord Jeff Inn to visit Robert Frost following a lecture Frost had given on the campus. The two were too timid to knock, so Phil slipped a poem he had written under the door. The next day Phil got his poem back, covered with Frost’s comments and encouragement. Hal adds, “Even during his busy and demanding legal career, Phil continued to write poetry, read widely and pursued discussions with his lifelong friends.”

Phil is survived by his second wife of 26 years, Gina, and his three children. They remember that Phil did his best to help people and that “we are all proud to be his family.” A wonderful tribute to a true gentleman.

Rob Sowersby ’55