Wayne Elmer Phillips, Jr., a longtime resident of Plainfield, died on Dec. 18th at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. He was 68.
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Wayne was born in Ashfield on March 11, 1944 to the late Mildred (Horton) and Wayne Phillips Sr. He graduated from Sanderson Academy in 1962. After graduating he joined the United States Air Force and spent four years serving in France. In 1968 he married Bonnie Collins of Ashfield and had three daughters, Leah, Angie and Laura over the next 11 years. Wayne served the town of Plainfield as an assessor for more than 15 years as well as on the Board of Trustees of Sanderson Academy.
Wayne was a logger and operated his own sawmill for more than 40 years. He was a true outdoorsman with a great love, respect and knowledge of the woods. He also enjoyed hunting and was an avid fisherman. He spent most of his time outside, whether it was working at his sawmill, in the woods, in his garden, or in his sugar shack, collecting and boiling sap.
If Wayne was indoors, he was most likely reading or playing cards. His favorites were cribbage, poker and Cribker, a game he and his life-long friend, Will Thayer, created. He spent a lot of time at the Plainfield Library, reading at least one book, if not more, a day. He also enjoyed watching sports, especially the Patriots and the UConn women's basketball team. Wayne was also known to sneak out for Chinese food and a movie on occasion…
Wayne loved his family, his friends, his town and his country. He was blessed with many, many friends who will miss him tremendously. He was a quiet man with a gentle presence in both Plainfield and Ashfield, where he was known to be honest, humble, and patient. He had a wealth of knowledge that he was happy to share with others. He touched many lives with his great sense of humor and his wonderful story telling.
Wayne leaves behind Bonnie, his wife of 44 years, three daughters; Leah of Plainfield, Angie Baranoski and her husband George of Ashfield, Laura Stein and her husband Josh of Covington, WA, four grandchildren; Owen, Elena and Isaak Baranoski, and Jacob Stein, two sisters; Barbara Ice and Patricia Paulin, both of Dennis, MA. Wayne also leaves behind two aunts; Phyllis Horton and Margaret Taintor, and several nieces and nephews. Among his many friends he leaves behind two of his closest, his fishing partner Gene Poissant, and his childhood friend Will Thayer, both of Ashfield. He was predeceased by his sister, Marilyn Roberts, his niece, Amy Paulin, and his loyal beagle, Hunter.
At Wayne's request, there will be no funeral services. Rather, a celebration will be held in his honor at Rich Pantermehl's garage at 1427 Bug Hill Road in Ashfield on Saturday, December 29 at 1 p.m. One of Wayne's favorite places was his friend Rich Pantermehl's shop by the wood stove. Please bring a side dish or dessert to complement a chicken barbeque as well as any photos and memories of Wayne.
The family would like to thank all of their friends, family members, neighbors and members of the community for their ongoing support and all of the incredible help so many have given throughout Wayne's illness.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to a Sanderson Trustee scholarship fund at Sanderson Trustees, c/o Martha Trenholm, 171 North Warger Rd, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370.
Published in The Recorder on Dec. 27, 2012