PHILIP JACK STORM
Philip Jack Storm of Westlake Village passed away peacefully on Sat, Aug 9, 2014 at the age of 93, with his daughters by his side. He was born in Hollywood, CA to Helen May Power Storm and Philip Bittens Storm on Apr 21, 1921. Phil, a third generation Californian, grew up in Hollywood and graduated from Hollywood High in 1938. While at Hollywood High, he was President of the Varsity Letterman's Club, played for two years as Varsity third baseman, and had a batting average of over 400 in his senior year to help lead his team to the Western League Championship.
Phil's talents as a versatile baseball player attracted the attention of four major league clubs: the Yankees, the Pirates, the Athletics, and the St. Louis Brown's. He signed a professional contract with the St. Louis Browns with the understanding that college would be completed before reporting for spring training.
Phil then attended Los Angeles City College where he was the starting shortstop for two years and was selected to the All Western League and All Southern California teams. After two years at LA City College, he received a baseball scholarship to attend Santa Barbara State Teacher's College where he once again led the team in batting average and was selected to play on the All League Team. Phil's baseball career came to an end with the advent of WWII. He asked to be released from his baseball contract, and with the draft on the horizon, he enlisted in the Navy in 1942.
In the Navy, it was discovered that Phil had an aptitude for flying and he attended ground and flight schools at various colleges in MO, NE, IA, and KS. He earned his coveted Navy wings at Corpus Christi, TX in 1944, along with the gold bar of an ensign. His duties later involved flying a PBY from the west coast which included 17 Air-Sea Rescue Operations and anti-submarine patrol. He served four years in the Navy and in the Coast Guard as a pilot rising to the level of Lieutenant Junior Grade before his discharge at the end of WWII.
In 1945, while on leave from the Navy, Phil married Claire Rylander on Jan 6th. Claire was a former acquaintance from his days at Hollywood High School. Claire and Phil remained husband and wife for almost 70 years. He and his beloved wife raised three daughters and he was proud to boast that all three graduated from UCLA and became teachers. Their life together included homes in Sherman Oaks, Santa Ana and Westlake Village, CA.
While facing the challenges of raising a family, Phil began a career with State Farm Insurance in 1946 which was to last for 38 years. Phil started as a Field Claims Representative in Los Angeles. During his time at State Farm, he earned the degree of Juris Doctor from Southwestern University Law School in 1954 while attending classes at night. Phil steadily rose through the ranks of State Farm and was named Assistant Superintendent of Claims (1948), Claims Superintendent (1952), Division Claims Superintendent (1955) and Division Manager (1960). He served on the California Insurance Commissioner's Advisory Committee on Claims (1965). In 1968 Phil was given the task of opening the new Westlake Village regional office for State Farm. In that same year he was named Deputy Regional Vice President for the new Westlake Village office where he served until his retirement in 1983.
Phil was very generous with his volunteer time. He served as President and General Chairman of the Santa Ana-Tustin Community Chest. He was an elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Ana and was a member in the downtown Santa Ana Kiwanis Club. He was a founding member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Westlake Village where he also served as an elder.
Phil's leisure time revolved around family vacations which included camping and water-skiing at Lakes Mohave, Shasta, and Powell. An avid athlete, Phil and family enjoyed many snow skiing trips to June Mountain. A most special time for Phil and Claire's family was their annual Bass Lake water-ski vacation, where all eight of the grandchildren learned to single ski thanks to the patient instruction from their grandparents.
Phil is predeceased by his wife, Claire, who passed away Jul 6, 2014 and survived by his daughters, Sharon Willson (Perry) of Pacific Palisades, Stephanie Williams (Steve) of La Jolla and Stacey Gessert (Peter) of Thousand Oaks; grandchildren, Trevor Willson, Tracey Duey (Jon), Ashley Willson, Bradley and Kimberly Williams and Gregory, Philip and Megan Gessert. Phil will be dearly missed by his loving family and all who knew him. Phil will always be remembered for his gentle spirit, optimistic and kind nature, and great love of family. A private family service was held on Aug 23, 2014 at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks-Griffin Mortuary in Westlake Village.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church at 32111 Watergate Rd in Westlake Village, CA 91361.
PIERCE BROTHERS VALLEY OAKS-GRIFFIN
MEMORIAL PARK & MORTUARY
Published in Los Angeles Daily News on Aug. 24, 2014