Farewell to Phil Richards, an uncommon man

Having only in the last few years met and spent time with Phil Richards, I read and re-read his obituary in Monday’s Alpena News. So much that I didn’t know about him. As I sit here, I continue to struggle for the proper words to pay a fitting tribute to this amazing man. Truly he was among the first ranks of “The greatest generation.”

He was a newspaperman who went on to make news. He served his family, his church, his community and his nation. He not only pitched in to help in many areas; he also created things that were needed, but did not yet exist. (See Monday’s obituary).

When I met Phil, I instantly liked him, and I came to respect him for his knowledge, his wit, his sense of humor, and his humanity. I appreciated the few times I was in his company, especially when it was just the two of us. Even to get a crisp note in the mail from Phil was a treat.

I knew Phil to be a man of few words, but oh, what words they were. Had we met in his young, creative years, I would have followed him everywhere. And I am certain that when his small group of newspaper executives met with President Kennedy, the President was equally pleased to be with Phil, as Phil was to be with J.F.K.

I said my “good-bye” to Phil on Wednesday, but I wanted to share a few words with those who may not have known what an uncommon man walked here among us.

Fairways and greens, Phil.

Sam Eiler