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