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Phillip Leroy Cottell

Phillip Leroy Cottell

Together we mourn the loss of Philip Leroy Cottell, our beloved husband (Donna); father (Deanna & Dominique; Sylvie & Roger), grandfather (Damien & Hunter), brother, (Murray, Allen, Cathy, and April) uncle, cousin and friend. Phil will always be remembered as a welcoming, kind and giving person, who liked to support others and had a personal policy to say ‘yes’ as often as he could. His special thanks go to his parents, Renie Thomson and Roy Cottell for the opportunity and support they offered. He also thanks the medical professionals who kept him alive for the past 20 years despite his cancer diagnosis, and family and friends for helping him make the most of it.

Born in Ladysmith in June 1941, Phil spent many of his early years in Calgary and Bowden, Alberta riding to school on his horse Perky. Later, his family moved back to Vancouver Island where he graduated from Ladysmith High School in 1959. After two years at UBC, unsure of his academic direction, Phil travelled to New Zealand to work for NZ Forest Services as a bounty hunter tasked with reducing the population of deer and goats. After 6 long months tenting in the remote forest, he caught a cargo ship back to Canada to continue his education. His father, a horse logger like Phil’s grandfather before him, encouraged Phil to major in forestry, where he excelled.

It was at a UBC Forestry and Home Economics mixer that he met his love, Donna née Jones, and they married soon after. He completed a BSF (Bachelor of Science Forestry, UBC) in 1966, and a MF (Masters of Forestry, UBC) in 1967. Then after 2 years in Montreal, he continued on to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut to do his PhD, where his first daughter, Deanna, was born. Once finished his education, his young family moved back to Vancouver and Musqueam territory, where his second daughter, Sylvie, was born.
During his forestry career, he had the opportunity to work with many outstanding colleagues and scientists at PAPRICAN, UBC Faculty of Forestry, FERIC, and MacMillan Bloedel/Weyerhauser. He was particularly proud to head the brilliant research and development team who invented TimberstrandTM and ParallamTM engineered lumber products.

He and Donna retired to “Canada’s sweet spot,” southern Vancouver Island on W̱SÁNEĆ territory, where he began woodturning and helped develop their beautiful garden. As an artist, he participated in Peninsula Open Studio tours, SPAC shows, Sidney and Sooke Fine Arts shows. He was fortunate to learn to carve with close friends Chris Paul and the late Barry Hearn. He enjoyed selling his work at various galleries on Vancouver Island, including Butchart Gardens, the Bateman Centre, Muffet & Louisa, and Side Street Studio.

Phil enjoyed sharing his passions through teaching. He taught woodturning at Lee Valley Tools and to interested youth in his neighbourhood. He was an active member of the Island Woodturner’s Guild and wrote articles for the American Association of Woodturners, an International Woodturner’s magazine. He also volunteered to read with First Nations students at KELSET Elementary School.

He loved his family, his friends, his late dog Flower, country and blue grass music, pie, and trees. His last words to everyone are, “To everything there is a season… turn, turn, turn.”

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to BC Cancer Victoria or Island Prostate Centre in Phil’s memory.

Celebration of Life: TBA

20 Condolences - Leave a comment
  • Mike Doyle -

    I so enjoyed walking and chatting with Phil before Flower passed and later visiting him in his shop where we had wonderful conversation and a lot of laughs as well. I will miss him terribly but feel truly blessed for having had the privilage of knowing him and our times together. My deepest condolances to Donna and family.

  • Robert Knudson -

    I am very sorry to hear of Phil’s passing. Phil was my boss at MacMillan Bloedel Research, and a truly excellent person to work with. Phil was an accomplished scientist and very proud of his other talented family members.

  • Sarah Theophilus - Bateman Foundation -

    Phil was a kind, warm and wonderful person. He was of our most beloved artists in the Bateman Gallery Shop from the very beginning, and always brought a smile to everyone he met here. We will miss his stories, his sparkle, his laugh, and his hugs. Our thoughts are with you and the whole family, Donna.

  • Helen -

    It was an honor to have known Phil.
    When we spoke I always found him a quiet, kind and gentle man.
    He will be missed.
    My sincere condolences to Donna, Deanna, and Sylvia on your loss.


  • Brenda Milne -

    Donna, I am so sad to hear of Phil’s passing. I enjoyed seeing his easy smile and happy face. I miss you both since my move and I send you a warm hug Donna, Phil will be truly missed.

  • Elizabeth Mueller -

    Will miss your laugh, your coffee and how you made people smile. Soar with the eagles Phil. Thanks for being my brother. E

  • Pam Chang -

    So sorry for your loss Donna. It was a pleasure to know such a a kind, intelligent gentleman. We always will remember our time together. In China. Our thoughts are with you at this time.. Pam and Ken Chang

  • Wendy Woollard -

    Donna and Phil are new art friends. I am absolutely honoured to have known Phil and appreciate his wonderful wood art, and particularly grateful to have shown Phil’s work at the SPAC Fairground show on Labour day weekend.
    We are all sending good thoughts to Donna, who has been so strong and steadfast in caring for Phil in these last months.
    Big E hug to Donna.
    Wendy Woollard

  • Ewart and Jo Blackmore -

    In 1972, shortly after we had purchased a house on 33rd Ave near Dunbar in Vancouver, a new family moved in beside us – Phil and Donna Cottell and their new daughter Deanna, almost the same age as our daughter Jennifer. We shared baby sitting and many evening meals and eventually their daughter Sylvie was born to join our two boys Jeff and Scott. It was a great way to bring up kids in an extended and loving family. Among other things, Phil influenced us to be more tolerant of teenager’s lengthy telephone calls. When Phil and Donna moved to Saanich, we met with them and enjoyed, besides their warm hospitality, Donna’s gardens and Phil’s woodturning exploits. Phil had two outstanding careers, first in forestry and then as a wood artist and in both cases his expertise was widely appreciated. We also followed Phil’s health issues and his brave battle against cancer. He will be missed by us and by all who crossed his path.

    • David Wall -

      Through Deanna, I only met Phil a few times but I certainly remember him as being a kind, welcoming, and gentle soul. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Deanna and family.

    • Donna Cottell -

      Thanks Ewart , Jo you were such good neighbours and close friends to Phil . We all influenced each other deeply !

  • Fred Amos -

    I remember sitting beside Phil; in one of our forestry classes; Phil, starting form the top, drew a person, and that person then kicked a ball.
    What an amazing talent he had! His drawing was perfect; I could never begin to draw like him!

  • Heather (Douglass) Scott -

    Donna, i randomly read the news today and saw your news about Phil. I remember the crazy stories about your early days together, and your beautiful blue wedding. So sorry you have lost your dear partner.
    I think of you often. Please accept my warm wishes, Heather

    • Donna Cottell -

      I am really glad to hear from you Heather , i have missed having you in my life . Phil and I would have had our 56th wedding Anniversary today . I am so grateful for the big support role you played in our wedding! Email is donnamcottell@gmail.com

  • Nick Crisp -

    Dr. Cottell was my thesis advisor at the Faculty of Forestry at UBC as I neared completion of my undergraduate degree. Phil was an approachable professor (unlike some of his colleagues with large egos), soft spoken and generous with his time and guidance. I have always appreciated Phil’s contribution to my academic experience.

  • Elizabeth Norma LePage -

    A gentle gentleman and a very dear cousin. So sad not to see you again. You were a rambunctious two-year-old first time I met you. My love and deeoest condolences to your family who were so lucky to have you in their lives. You will be so missed by all who knew you.

  • Beverly Thomson -

    Such sad news. What a sweet, kind soul to leave too soon. My deepest sympathies to each and all of your/our family. One of the best, Phil will be so missed.

  • gary smith -

    Deanna, you and your family are in our hearts and thoughts! I’m sorry about the passing of your dad.. He was a good gentle man. – and much loved.. a lucky guy. Reach out anytime if you need anything..G

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