American Section

Remembering Phil Tillman

By January 24, 2016 May 8th, 2018 No Comments

Contributed by Graham Alexander:

Below is Phil Tillman’s Obituary.  He was a great friend.  I would compare him Ali Meller in terms of passion for 505s except Phil was earlier. I first met him at Hampton NAs in about 1970. He was crewing for David, they took second to Dennis Surtees.  It was close though. I can’t remember who was crewing for Surtees then.

I think it was around 63 or 64 that Phil and another Canadian thought they ought to try 505’s.  Phil was a brit expat working for Nortel (Canada’s Bell labs).  They ordered two 505s from Parker. Realizing how much shipping was going to be they decided to order a container, so they needed to sell 4 boats before they were shipped.  They sold 6.  Oh well, better order another container.  that one got overbooked before the boats were made, so they ordered another container.  It was hard to get boats back then.  Although he got out of 505s when sailboards got good, he always helped the fleet in Ottawa mentoring new members, crewing for beginners, making parts etc.  He often showed up at CORK and other Kingston regattas to see how the class was doing.


Our dad passed peacefully December 20, 2015, 66 years to the day he began dating our mum, his gorgeous wife Maureen. 

My sisters and I are incredibly sad but at the same time relieved that he is no longer in pain. Phil crossed his final finish line. An incredible cyclist, sailor and windsurfer my dad did everything 100 % and with absolutely no regrets. He lived life to the fullest and made sure everyone around him did as well. 

The most amazing thing we learned this week was how many lives and careers he mentored. There was a constant stream of visitors, many we didn’t even know, who shared 
the stories of Phil and the influence he had on them. 

December 24, 2015 will mark the seventeenth anniversary of the liver transplant he received. A gift my dad treasured and respected. He had taken medication from a young age to control Colitis which destroyed the liver. He was a prime candidate for a transplant in that he was both physically and emotionally in great shape. We often called him the poster boy for organ transplant.

A celebration of life ceremony is being planned for January 6, 2016 at 2 pm at Britannia Yacht Club.  

Thank you ALL for the notes, prayers and hugs. You have no idea how much they meant to us all. As my dad always said “you choose your friends, they are family”.  We’ve attached an amazing picture (actually an article from the Ottawa Citizen June 1975). It captures everything our Dad was, fit, competitive, funny and someone who loved life!

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