Born and raised in Beloit, Wis., he came to us from Beloit Memorial High School. He entered Princeton under a full NROTC scholarship, never having laid eyes on the campus before arriving in September 1957. At Princeton he majored in sociology, ate at Dial, was a DJ for WPRB, and was a member of Orange Key and the Semper Fidelis Society, the latter reflecting his choosing the Marine Corps option of the NROTC. He was captain of the NROTC rifle team. Phil’s senior-year roommates were Art Smith and George Brakeley, who described him as “a tough dude.”
As a Marine helicopter and C-130 pilot, Phil served two tours in Vietnam and received multiple medals. After eight years of active duty in the Corps, he remained in the Reserve and retired as a full colonel, one of the Corps’ most senior Black officers.
Following law school at USC and specializing in civil litigation with an emphasis on aviation defense, he practiced until 2018, having survived two tours of wartime duty, racism throughout his life, and four bouts with cancer.
Phil is survived by his wife of 41 years, Kathy; daughters Celeste and Niko; and a sister.