Phillip Wayne "Phil" Highsmith, 62, of Belleville, Ill., born Thursday, Oct. 7, 1948, in Mount Vernon, Ill., died Friday, April 22, 2011, at home surrounded by loved ones after a hard fought battle with cancer.
Phil graduated from Belleville Township High School in 1966. He attended Illinois State University on a football scholarship, playing Center for the Redbirds. He earned a B.S. in Education in 1970. He was a talented and popular athlete well-known for his hi-jinks in high school, college, and beyond. Phil taught and coached for over 30 years at Belleville West High School until his retirement in 2005. After retiring, he continued to volunteer at many athletic events to support the Mighty Maroons. He also enjoyed playing farmer with his buddies at S & M Dairy Farm.
He was preceded in death by his parents, C. Wayne and Rubye Jeanne, nee Wilson, Highsmith and his beloved grandmother Myrtle "Grampies," nee Williams, Highsmith.
Surviving are his daughters, Stacey Highsmith of Denver, Colo., and Amy Highsmith (Ezra Bowman) of Denver, Colo.; two adored grandchildren, a granddaughter, Charlotte Grace Highsmith Bowen and a grandson, Oliver Phillip Bowman; brother, Curt R. (Carol) Highsmith of Millstadt, Ill.; niece, Christa Highsmith (Joel Chartrand) of Honolulu, Hawaii; nephew, Curtis "Chad" Highsmith of Belleville, Ill.; and godson, Lance Mayer of Belleville, Ill.; as well as the mother of his children, Sandy, nee Tattrie, Highsmith.
The family would like to extend deep gratitude to all of Phil's physicians, nurses, and close friends for contributing to the quality of his life over the length of his illness.
Memorials may be made to the Belleville West Sports Booster Club in honor of his lifelong dedication and love of athletics. Condolences may be expressed online at www.kurrusfh.com.
Visitation: Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday, April 25, 2011, at Kurrus Funeral Home in Belleville, Ill.
Funeral: A public celebration of Phil's life will begin at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, 2011, at Kurrus Funeral Home in Belleville, Ill.
KURRUS FUNERAL HOME, Belleville, Ill.
Published in Belleville News-Democrat from Apr. 23 to Apr. 24, 2011