PAUL ARTHUR PHILLIPS Died peacefully Wednesday, July 16, 2008, in Vernon, after a brief battle with cancer. He was predeceased by his parents Dick and Molly Phillips and his sister Ruth Phillips. He will be deeply missed by his wife Donna, daughters Erin and Nicole (Dale), his granddaughters, Lauren, Danika and Holly, his brothers David (Betty) and Rhys (Tatjana), brother-in-law Gary, sister-in-law Bobby (Ed), nephews and nieces and many dear friends especially his honorary family Barb, Mike, Eric, Jeanette and Colin Angel.
Paul was born November 3, 1938, in Hong Kong, the son of missionaries. The outbreak of war caused them to return to Canada, to Victoria where Paul grew up. A graduate of Mount View High School in Victoria, Paul enjoyed his 50th high school reunion in 2006. He graduated with a BSc in Chemistry and an MA in Economics at the University of Saskatchewan. He obtained his PhD from the London School of Economics in 1967.
A true renaissance man, Paul possessed an incredible variety of passions and gifts. As a scholar and teacher he wrote numerous books and articles on a significant range of topics including labour economics and labour relations, Canadian economic history and political economy, comparative economic systems and labour-based economies, and Yugoslavia and transitional economies. In recent years he has focused much of his work on environmental issues. He was also a dedicated teacher, taking great satisfaction in working with students and with his colleagues at the University of Manitoba, where he taught for 34 years and which conferred on him the honour of Professor Emeritus in 2005. He was also Adjunct Professor of American Studies at the University of Llubljana in Slovenia.
Much of his academic work and his involvement in political and community life was motivated by a deep and passionate commitment to social justice and a profound commitment to speaking for those who are left out of the economic, political and social conversation.
He had the same passion for his other interests: singing and acting, sailing, skiing, golfing, polo, gardening, cooking, beer and wine making, design and carpentry. Perhaps his greatest joy, however, came from music. A player of many instruments, Paul was active in folk music since the early 1960s, sang for 30 years with the Manitoba Opera Chorus and most recently sang with Aura Chamber Choir and the Vernon Welsh Men's Choir. So many of his friendships began with a shared love of music and it was a love he shared with and nurtured in his daughters.
Despite all of his involvement in groups and organizations, Paul was an independent thinker and unafraid to stand apart from a group. He took risks intellectually and personally and was not afraid to reassess a position. Yet in more trivial matters like taste in clothes or television shows he could be absolutely dogmatic and opinionated.
He will be remembered by friends and family for his fundamentally kind and generous nature, his great capacity for friendship and good humour, his dreadful puns, his steadfastness in any commitment, his willingness to stand up for what he believed was right, his curiosity and wide ranging intellect and his tendency to burst forth in song in just about any circumstance.
Cremation has taken place. There will be a memorial service Saturday, August 2, 2008 at the Schubert Centre, 3505 30th Avenue, Vernon, at 11:00 a.m. Please, no flowers. Donations can be made in his name to the BC Cancer Agency, Southern Interior, 399 Royal Avenue, Kelowna, V1Y 5L3 or the Vernon and District Hospice House, 3506 27th Avenue, Vernon, V1T 1S4. Arrangements have been entrusted to: Pleasant Valley Funeral Home 4303 Pleasant Valley Road Vernon, B.C. V1T 4M4 Phone: 250-542-4333