We lost our surrogate Grandfather Tuesday. Karen's dad, Phil, died after he fell at the house. He had a cerebral hemorrhage and never regained consciousness.
Phil was the kindest man - for those that knew him will remember him as soft spoken and funny. His dry wit would catch you off guard and have you laughing with him. He was very proud of all his children; Chip, Karen and Steve and all his grandchildren - Phil had an amazing life - an avid photographer, he told amazing stories of photographing atomic bomb testing in the southwest for the army. He was MADLY in love with Joanne - so happily married for 55 years.
Karen's parents had a big house here in Virginia and would be chaperones to everyone that came to ride with Karen and David, but wasn't old enough to live by themselves. From Will Coleman, Will Faudree and Clark Montgomery to Lauren Keiffer, Hannah Burnett and Anisa and Kendall Tracey, we were all lucky enough to spend time at their house and have the honor or knowing Phil. Let alone Christmas and Thanksgiving - too many names to list.
I came to the O'Connor Event Team on December 12th, 2001. I lived with Joanne and Phil for the two weeks before we left for Florida. I was nervous about living with "Karen's parents" - that all went away in the first 5 minutes I was there. Wide open hearts and arms - I was very lucky to be there. My life is so much richer for knowing him.
The OCET is going to miss Phil; one of the Founding Fathers. We will try and be great for him and try and make him proud. We will miss his smiling face at the horse shows, with the dogs on a leash, carrying a chair for Joanne to sit on and the quick grin we would get when he would see us.
Remember to appreciate the people around you - they are priceless - and tell them you love them.
Be good Big Phil! We miss you.....