Yesterday, as planned, Phil Gair’s memorial service was held. I didn’t count, but I figure there were about 60 people present. Phil’s family was present, of course, and among those was Cynthia Gair, his sister. (Those who know Phil likely heard of the weekly conversations with his sister that served to anchor him, time-wise.) Cynthia commented here this afternoon, but I want to elevate that comment to a front page post, so that everybody gets a chance to read her thoughts.
Wow. I’m amazed. This is Phil’s sister. Thank you so much, Waldo, for telling me about this site. And thank you so much – any of you who made it to Phil’s Tree Planting yesterday, as well as all of you who have been friends of Phil’s over the years.
Since Phil’s death, we (me, Phil’s mom Peggy Lou, and his brother Dan) have learned a lot about Phil’s friendships and his role in your community. It’s been heartwarming and comforting to know that so many others saw Phil’s magic. My mother and I have just read your posts about Phil. How wonderful that he was so appreciated.
The three of us had regular contact with Phil (I’ve talked to him every Sunday – at least – for, oh, 30 or more years). I’m just beginning to absorb that he’s not here anymore. There is a big gap in my life that can’t be filled (phil’d) by anyone but him. Like – for all of you – the spot outside Chaps.
I’ll keep this entry brief (or sort of brief) but can give you some information on a couple matters that were brought up in posts under the announcement of his death. We have a couple recordings (tapes) from Phil’s musical days. I haven’t played them so I don’t know what’s on them but will check them out. Unfortunately, Phil didn’t think of himself as a good musician – but in addition to guitar he played a fine banjo and was an amazing harpist (harmonica). Also, one of his best friends in the late 60s – and a member of the band he was in (sorry – can’t remember the name of the band) has gotten in touch with me in the last week – so I can get information from him (or put you directly in touch with him) if any of you wants. He now lives in Florda and doesn’t use email.
About Phil’s teeth – and his general health – a continual source of worry and concern to us over recent years. In this, as in everything, Phil was his own person and made his own way. We pleaded with him to go to a dentist. We even tried bribing him (this almost did it!) but no go- he staunchly refused to see a dentist or a doctor.
I hope you all know how important you were to Phil. The friendships with each of you were his sustenance.
With sadness and deep appreciation,
Cynthia Gair, Phil’s sister
At the service, we each took turns relating stories — often funny — about Phil. It was sad, but also happy, and it was wonderful to see so many Phil admirers in one place. At the end, everybody took turns reaching into the urn, scooping up a handful of his ashes, and sprinkling them around the base of the tree planted in his honor. The spring breeze stirred up the ash, sending wisps of Phil through the air, wafting towards the Downtown Mall.