Obituary of Owen J. Phillips
Owen J. Phillips, 90, of Syracuse, NY, reached the end of a great life Friday, February 25th 2022, at St. Joseph’s Hospital. He was predeceased by his daughter, Carol Ann and her son, Benjamin, and by his daughter, Doreen and her daughter, Darla Ann.
Owen is survived by his wife of 66 years, Winifred, along with two sons, Ralph and Eric, 6 grandchildren 6 great grandchildren, and extended family far and wide beyond the US, including those in England, Australia, South Africa and Canada.
Owen was born in Putney, London, England, the 7th child of Bertie and Mabel Lucy Mary Phillips.
Owen was evacuated during World War II from London to Yorkshire. He served in the RAF (Royal Air Force) as a radio operator on aircraft delivering supplies during the Berlin Airlift after the war.
Owen and Winifred met in Smallfield and were married in Horley, Surrey in July 1956.
Early in his career, Owen worked in the printing trade in London, and then for three years in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Our family moved from England to Syracuse, NY in 1968 where he worked for Dix Typesetting until 1975. Don Fitzgerald and Owen then established D & O Roofing where they worked together for many years. He subsequently spent several years each working for Syracuse Housing Authority and Key Bank doing maintenance and repair. In keeping with his work ethic, Owen never fully retired. He continued to do roof jobs, paint homes, and work on commercial construction and installation projects.
Owen was active and made lifelong friends while engaging in organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, Elmwood Fish and Game Club (though he never hunted or fished), and his Masonic Lodge. Though he never joined the church, he often accompanied Win to services for a “dose of holiness.” He also helped clean the building and supported family activities such as scouting. So often in fact, that some people there assumed he was a member.
He was an avid supporter of the NY Yankees and The Wolves (Wolverhampton Wanderers). He also enjoyed woodworking… especially making toys for children.
Owen was a great Dad to 4 children, and many foster children, always actively playing and working with us. Our family traveled and camped far and wide.
Dad has a wonderfully sharp and sometimes cynical “British” sense of humor, regretfully handed down for his descendants’ wives to endure. He made friends wherever he went and stayed close with beloved ex-relatives.
Owen tirelessly battled squirrels, ground hogs and deer to have an abundant garden, producing much fresh food for his family, with plenty to preserve and often feed half the neighborhood.
Multiple friends – He’s the hardest working person I’ve known, with a heart of gold… and you never knew what he was going to come out with… finding humor in almost any situation.
Eric - “Dad was a man that left me with the ability to try my best at any given time, and not blame anyone else. …He gave me a work ethic and a sense of humor and surprise. He was a good mind. He cared for others and family. Thanks for doing that for me.”
Win (Mum) – “He is a true friend as well as a husband. We enjoyed doing things together, and loved exploring the world together, while encouraging each other’s separate interests”
Owen (Dad) - “I LOVE Win. I won the lottery when I married her.”
Miss you, Dad. Hope to see you again, but not too soon.