Battalion Chief Philip Emerson Rounds, 55, passed away Nov. 21, 2008, at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
Philip was born in Quincy, Mass., on Aug. 2, 1953. In 1971, he graduated from Mount Miguel High School in Spring Valley, Calif. He attended Grossmont College in La Mesa, Calif., and University of Fairbanks Tanana Valley Campus in Fairbanks, and completed his education with a degree from the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md.
Phil served in the U.S. Air Force from February 1972 until he was honorably discharged in August 1979. His duty stations were: Vandenberg Air Force Base (1972-1974) and Eielson Air Force Base (July 1974-1979). From 1979 to 1985, he continued work at the Eielson Air Force Base Fire Department as assistant chief. In 1985, he completed his civil service and became captain at the University Fire Department where he built his career fulfilling the position of battalion chief shortly thereafter. He has taught countless young men and women during the span of his career to serve and protect the communities they live in with strong work ethics, pride and humanity. At the time of his death, he had logged 21,483 calls for service during his 36-year career.
When Phil wasn't serving the community, he enjoyed boating, fishing, hunting and woodturning. However, without a doubt, as anyone could see by his proudly named "PER-fect Dirt" truck company, that driving his bobcat and dump truck were by far his favorite things to do.
His devotion to his wife, family, fire family, UAF, Alaska and his country that he served was his greatest pride. He was a husband, father, brother, friend and mentor to everyone he came in contact with throughout the years. He was always a good neighbor and would do anything for anyone and was always proud of the accomplishments of his students as they went on to start a new chapter in their lives.
Phil is survived by his wife and best friend of more than 39 years, Bess; daughters and son-in-laws, Julie and Kevin Ritchie of North Pole and Vickie and Larry Shores of Fairbanks; grandchildren, Tiffany Hay, Sean Ritchie, Kacey Ritchie, Jenee Shores and Dana Shores; great-grandchildren, Sydney and Logan Hay; sister, Melicent Kiser of Lacey, Wash.; brothers and sister-in-laws, Peter and Laurie Rounds of Anchorage and Dana and Susan Rounds of Vacaville, Calif.; brother-in-law and sisters-in-law, Billy Atkinson and Mary Jayne of Spring Creek, Nev., Margaret and Smitty Smith of Caldwell, Idaho and Nancy Atkinson of El Cajon, Calif.; nephews and nieces, Bryce and Jamie of California, Christie and Joel of California, Robbie and Ronnie of Idaho and numerous other nieces and nephews; his four-legged daughters, Nutty and Biscuit Rounds of Fairbanks; and finally, the entire UAF Fire Department members, both present and past.
Phil was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Thelma Rounds; mother- and father-in-law, Robert and Margaret Atkinson; and brother-in-law, Ronald Kiser.
We would like to send our deepest thanks to the five wonderful men, Dr. Ken Starks, Dr. Bruce Footit, ICU nurses Paul and Allen, Paul Miranda (UAFD student) and the rest of the ICU staff who worked so hard to help Phil transition from this life to the next. To the UAFD family, there are no words -- you made it possible through your love and support for us to witness how much he was truly loved by you all for this, his final call of service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made on behalf of the family to the "Battalion Chief Philip E. Rounds (aka Battalion Chief Wonderful) Fire Science Scholarship" at any Denali State Bank.
Services will be held at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 29, at Davis Concert Hall on the UAF campus. It will start with a procession of fire apparatus from across the state on University Avenue to the campus prior to the service. There will be a free shuttle service to and from Taku and Nenana.
Arrangements were by Fairbanks Funeral Home and Crematory.