Philip "Phil" OKunewick of Idaho Springs died Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, after a battle with Glioblastoma (brain cancer).
Phil is survived by his wife, Diane OKunewick; sons John (12) and Edward (9); brother Eric OKunewick; and sisters Natalie Spradling and Mary Zaffron.
Phil was born in Hollywood, Calif. His family moved to Maryland when he was about 6 years old and then to Pittsburgh, Pa., when he was about 8 years old.
Phil had a lifelong passion for working with electronics. He attended Carnegie Mellon University after graduating high school, but soon realized it was more fun fixing computers than studying them. Phil took a job with MiniServ, a small business computer repair company. It was from this experience that Phil realized he could fix pretty much everything.
His wife, Diane, used to say that, "He could fix anything but dinner." After a few years of fixing computers, Phil went back to college and received his degree in computer science from Pennsylvania State University. He remained with the university after graduation, continuing to fix the computers of Penn State Computer Science for many years.
He also loved music, playing percussion in the Nittany Valley Symphony, but it was his love of rocks and adventure that led him to the Penn State Caving Club where he met his wife, Diane Clark. Phil and Diane moved to Colorado to continue their adventure.
They were married in Idaho Springs in October of 1996. Phil continued to do computer support for US West (the phone company) and eventually IBM, retiring from IBM in January of 2020.
Phil had a passion for helping others learn - about everything. His passions included history, amateur/HAM radio, conducting radio testing for others to get their licenses for ARRL and W5YI.
He also loved trains because they was something of history around something he could fix, putting in many volunteer hours at the Colorado Railroad Museum.
Phil joined Boy Scouts at a young age and learned vital lifesaving skills, which he soon used to rescue his drowning brother from the rapids of the Youghiogheny River. For this heroic act, Phil was awarded the Boy Scout Medal of Merit. He was also passionate about helping others who were less fortunate, making a point of buying many turkeys for the Denver Rescue Mission's turkey drive every year.
There will be a visitation to remember Phil on Thursday, March 5, 2020, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Olinger Crown Hill Funeral Home, 7777 W. 29th Ave., Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.
Funeral Mass for Phil will be held at St. Paul's Catholic Church, 1632 Colorado Blvd., Idaho Springs CO 80452, on Friday, March 6, 2020, at 5 p.m. Reception to follow.
Also, please bring a rock for Phil. Phil picked up rocks wherever he went. He always found a rock of interest to him. Bring a rock that interests you.
Wear your Boy Scout uniform if you have one or just wear plaid. Phil always wore plaid long before it was cool.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to the Clear Creek Robotics Club (Friends of Clear Creek Extension C4 BOTZ, P.O. Box 1271, Idaho Springs, CO 80452); Phil's son John's Boy Scout Troop, Troop 1776, 30476 Upper Bear Creek Road, Evergreen CO 80439; or the Denver Rescue Mission, P.O. Box 5206, Denver, CO 80217.
Published in Clear Creek Courant on Feb. 26, 2020.