Phil was born on March 18, 1949 and passed away very unexpectedly on Jan. 13, 2023 while playing Wordle in his home in Port Townsend, Washington. He was the son of Walter William Pilgrim and Flora Louise (Sperling) Pilgrim. Phil was born and raised in Richmond, Indiana.
After graduating from high school in Richmond, Phil went to college at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He then pursued a Masters of Science (Computer and Communication Sciences) and a Doctor of Philosophy (Computer and Communication Sciences) from the University of Michigan. After graduation from Michigan, he decided to travel the country to find where he wanted to live. This trip took him up to Alaska, through the western states and back to Indiana where he packed up all his belongings and drove back to Port Townsend.
Phil made many friends in Port Townsend who also traveled with him from Mexico to Canada. As an entrepreneur, he loved creating technology solutions, designing software and hardware, and tinkering in his shop. Phil was quick to help out many of his friends with their businesses and provided material support when asked. Early on in his career, he helped design a sorting machine for the apple industry. He also designed cameras that are being used in industrial situations.
The intangibles are what made his friends love Phil. Every conversation with him had laughter in it. If he was here today, there would be something to talk to him about. He’s the one person who has left a hole in the universe for many of his friends. They go on but it’s different now.
Phil was a confirmed bachelor and had always said that he was married to his work and could not spend enough time devoted to anyone. Phil owned a cat (Browser) that he thoroughly enjoyed and whom he taught tricks to. If you knew Phil, you knew about Browser.
Phil was involved in his community much of his life. He helped out with the Rhody Run for years. He was involved with the high school helping with Drama club, Mock Trial and Robotics. He also taught several of the Robotics classes. He enjoyed influencing young minds.
Phil was preceded in death by his parents, and his youngest brother Ric. He is survived by his brother David (Sue); sister-in-law Rita; nieces and nephews Karrie, Corey (Megan), Ian (Theresa); and grand niece Emilia.
Donations in Phil's name may be made to the Port Townsend High School's Robotics Club or the Mock Trial Program. Please send them to: PTSE #50, 1610 Blaine St., Port Townsend, WA 98368, Attn: Dr. Linda Rosenbury.
A Poem for Phil Pilgrim
Probably best not to mention all of Phil’s inventions.
Too many to count! Okay, just two: deep-sea cameras,
and his remote -control rubber band pistol (don't shoot the cat).
Friends and family received one-of-a kind Objets d’art
tied with his laser-inscribed tags. And those Manhattans!
tart cherries mocking our bitters. But don’t think
that things were all he gave away. How ‘bout the lazy susan
built to rotate the Scrabble board to each player (clockwise).
He placed words like anion and zaffer, often on the triple
word square (Did we not marvel?) So, this is the thing:
His offerings were often invisible. If alert, you understand
that Phil lived not in things, but in The Land of Kindness
and Friendship. When despots raged and rain was endless,
he’d arrive wearing his khaki shorts toting a bottle of merlot.
“Hi guys!” How cleverly he made you feel as if you were
the genius when, truly, Philbert himself was the Gift.