Phillip Madison Crary -Born December, 8, 1936, passed this life on Saturday, November 10, 2012, surrounded by family.
Phillip was born to the late Norman and Florence Crary of Sylvania, Ohio. He graduated from Sylvania Burnham High School in 1954, and served 4 years in the United States Navy until 1961. On May 12, 1958, Phillip married Ruth Elaine Eby, and they had two children.
Phillip followed his father's path, and pursued a career in pharmacy at the University of Toledo. The family owned Crary Drug in Temperance, Michigan from 1953 until he sold the business and "semi-retired" in 1995. He continued to work part-time at Crary Drug, and later the Medicine Shoppe until medical retirement in 2012. Phil's favorite part of his job was the enjoyment he received by his many discussions with his customers. True midnight blue and gold blood ran through Phil's veins as he was a great supporter of sports at his alma mater, being a season ticket holder for football, as well as both men's and ladies' Rocket basketball teams. He also enjoyed going on many of their away-game excursions.
Phil was a very active community member who believed in charitable giving and community service. He spent many years as a 3B Baseball Commissioner, and sponsored many little league teams and the Bedford all-star teams at the Monroe County Fair. Phil served on the Bedford Township Board from 1968 through 1980, when he decided to "retire" from politics. To nearly his last breath, however, he could still give one an earful on today's political world! He also was an past member of the Bedford Lions Club. Having had a cornea transplant himself in 1974 to restore his eyesight, he firmly believed in the mission of the Lions.
Traveling was a major passion of Phil's, which he loved to share with his family. Together, they took many trips throughout the United States as well as Jamaica, Honduras, and Canada. He was an avid sportsman, and loved fishing in many Michigan lakes and the waters in Canada. He always had an entertaining "fish story" to share. In 1989, he embarked on his first safari to Africa, where he fell in love with the continent, and later took family members to East Africa and then South Africa (August 2011 his last foreign adventure). His other travels included many of Europe's great cities (London, Paris, Rome, Venice, Florence) and the Bahamas, Peru, Machu Picchu, an Amazon River houseboat excursion, and the Galapagos Islands. Along the way, he made many friends, and kept in contact with them until his illness.
In the early 1960's through 1970, the Crary family owned a cabin on Tea Lake in Lewiston, Michigan. Many friends and relatives enjoyed time up there as well, fishing, playing cards, bullfrogging, sledding behind cars - you name it! The little ones always made sure there were wild flowers placed in a brown empty beer bottle in the middle of the kitchen table. Many stories came from these trips up north - most of them were actually true! In 1990, he purchased a family cottage on Posey Lake, where additional memories were created with his family, his grandchildren, and many new friends.
Even though Phil spent many hours at his business and with his community activities, he always made sure he spent quality time with his children. Pool parties were a neighborhood favorite. Family vacations were always on the road - out east, down to Florida, west to California, including a 3-week road trip out to the Yellowstone National Park and opal mining in Idaho, with many wonderful stops along the way.
One day later in life, Phil came home from work and declared "I want to paint flowers." He was self-taught in oil painting, and became a skilled artist, capturing many floral arrangements on his canvasses. He also became an avid gardener at his home in Temperance, and created lush gardens to the enjoyment of the neighborhood. His hobby became a passion, particularly focused on roses, lilies, and orchids. He spent many happy hours shopping at Black Diamond Nursery.
He enjoyed driving to Detroit and Windsor to spend time in the casinos. He was a skilled gamesman, and particularly enjoyed playing black jack and Texas Hold 'Em. Many of the dealers in Windsor became friends and knew him by name. Phil always knew "when to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em."
Phil and Ruth sponsored many underprivileged children in Africa through World Vision for over 25 years. Phil traveled to some of the villages and met some of those sponsored children.
Phillip is survived by Ruth, his wife of 54 years, as well as their children, Elizabeth (Robert) Titus and Bradd (Jill) Crary. Also surviving are his 3 grandchildren, Ryan (Amanda) Crary and their soon-to-be born daughter, Brooklyn Rose (Toledo), Madison Titus, and Tyler Crary (both of Temperance).
Family and friends may visit on Thursday, November 15, 2012, in Urbanski's Bedford Funeral Chapel 8300 Lewis Ave. Temperance, MI from 2 until the time of the Funeral Service at 7 p.m., officiated by Rev. Dr. Frank Paine. Cremation will follow.
The family wishes to extend a very special thank you to the many friends who helped care for Phil during his illness, as well as Hospice for their loving care and concern. To make a financial donation to World Vision as a memorial tribute to Phil, you may either send a check to World Vision - Memorial Donation Team, PO Box 78481, Tacoma, WA 98541-8481. Please indicate CODE # 105429563 for Phil's memorial account; or Call 1-888-511-6519 to donate using debit or credit card, using CODE # 105429563 for Phil's memorial account.
Bedford Funeral Chapel
8300 Lewis Avenue Temperance, MI 48182
Published in Toledo Blade on Nov. 13, 2012