Philip Lee Konkel
1944 - 2016
Philip Lee Konkel

September 24, 1944 ~ May 31, 2016

Philip Konkel died suddenly the day after Memorial Day, 2016 in Seattle, WA. He had severely broken his ankle two weeks earlier. He was preparing for his release from the hospital to return home to continue his therapy when he collapsed and suddenly died. The cause was a pulmonary embolism. Phil was 71 years old. Phil was born in Sterling, CO, living there until he graduated from Sterling High School in 1962. He then began his college studies at Colorado State College in Greeley. In 1966, Phil graduated with a dual major in French and Spanish. He then studied for a year at the University of Washington. In 1967, he was accepted to serve in the U.S. Peace Corps. He proudly served in Turkey for two years, teaching English and French. In 1969, Phil returned to the U.S. and permanently settled in Seattle to begin a long teaching career. During his early years of teaching, Phil earned a Master's degree from Western Washington University. He taught in the Seattle Public Schools, mostly at Franklin High School. He was primarily a French and Spanish instructor. Phil was a much-respected and admired teacher, eventually becoming the head of the Language Arts program at Franklin. Phil was always looking for ways to provide additional incentives for his students. He introduced films, art, literature and music. Phil maintained contact with many of his former students, even after his retirement in 1999 following 30 years in the classroom. Phil maintained an active social life away from school. His most satisfying interest was music. He began playing the piano as a young child, later playing the saxophone as well. By high school he was a capable piano accompanist. He later studied the organ, which became his most beloved instrument. He was choir director and organist at St. John's Episcopal Church in Kirkland. After his retirement, Phil became a popular substitute organist throughout Seattle, in Episcopal churches as well as other denominations. He referred to these sessions as being "on the bench". Phil's love of music went beyond performance, and he was always willing to assist friends in choosing music for various events and ceremonies. He began a chorus in a retirement community. Phil enjoyed both opera and symphonic concerts. Following retirement, Phil was able to pursue many activities which he had not been able to enjoy to the fullest while teaching. He was always interested in people from other cultures, and he nourished that curiosity with extensive traveling. Phil visited more than 30 European countries. He enjoyed several visits to Africa, including a rewarding time in South Africa. On a visit to Southeast Asia, he loved the food, the people, and the scenery -- but he suffered from the humidity and heat. Phil visited Chile and Argentina, but he particularly loved his trip to Peru, which included a visit to experience the summer solstice in the ruins of Machu Picchu. And he was happy to be on one of the first tours to Cuba in 2015. He visited Mexico and Canada several times. He cruised along the Alaskan Peninsula and enjoyed a cruise down the Mississippi to New Orleans. Phil's final trip began in Transylvania, before moving on to nearby countries. This was about six weeks prior to his death. Phil was engaged in non-profit and service activities. One thing which he found most rewarding was the Road to Recovery program, which gave him the chance to drive cancer patients to their treatments. He made nearly 900 such trips. Phil also served on the Seattle Public Schools scholarship board. And he was an active member of the Seattle Retired Teachers Association, dealing primarily with scholarship programs. Phil maintained close relationships with people who had served with him in the Turkey Peace Corps program, as well as meeting with Volunteers who had served in other countries. Phil was a skilled cook and was always pleased to share dishes with others. He loved to entertain and to be entertained.

Phil is survived by brother Neil Konkel, sister Kimberly Wyatt and her husband Randy, half-brother Harry Konkel, sister-in-law Peggy Konkel, nephew David Konkel, and niece Cheryl Avinger. Phil was preceded in death by father Maurice W. Konkel, mother Edith Williams, and brother Tek Konkel. Phil is lovingly remembered by many friends and associates, including several friends who felt they were family members and actually had familial names for him.

A Memorial Service will be held at Church of the Ascension, 2330 Viewmont Way W, Seattle, WA 98199 on Saturday, July 23, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. There will be a champagne reception following.

Condolences may be sent to the Church. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to two organizations with which Phil was happily associated. The Seattle Retired Teachers Association, Scholarship Fund, 325 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA 98109 or Seattle Schools Scholarship Fund, Erma M Hill, Comptroller's Office, MS 33-343, PO Box 34165, Seattle, WA 98124-1165.
Published by The Seattle Times on Jun. 19, 2016.
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Memorial service
Church of the Ascension
2330 Viewmont Way W, Seattle, WA
Sponsored by The Family.
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Phil, Mary Lou Krause and I were all first year teachers together at Franklin high School in the very early seventies. In our retirement we found joy in having lunch together at one or the other of our houses. We were blessed to share this time together for sixteen years each first Wed. of every other month.
This photo is of our last luncheon together, May 3, 2016. Twenty eight days before his death. It had been Mary Lou's time to do lunch and since I had suffered a devastating attack of sciatica I had landed at Kline Galland for rehabilitation. Mary Lou had prepared a beautiful lunch, table cloth and all and brought it to us on the bus in her true independent fashion.
My husband and June had shown up unexpectedly but there was plenty for them too. I suggested as we were leaving that someone take a picture with June's iPhone. Boy was that Providence! It was our last time together. Phil had known June since she was five years old and had chosen music for her wedding and videoed the wedding as a wedding gift to her. In addition he had shared special times in the summer with her sons when they would visit. They called him Uncle Phil.
•I am the Cicely Tyson looking individual at the table in my hospital robe the man beside me is my husband standing behind me is my daughter June next to her is Mary Lou Krause and then Phil.
Alice Allen
July 22, 2016

Everyone recognized Phil's agile mind, hallmarks of which were seen in his flair for languages, curiosity and humor. He had a propensity to say the outrageous to friends, colleagues, parents, and students. Yet he worded it so that it was apt, maybe barbed, but more likely to bring a laugh than to shock the listener.

Phil was certainly an excellent teacher who inspired the students' curiosity and questioning. I personally noted this when, by happenstance, Phil and my family vacationed at the same time in Puerto Vallarta. Our three year old' s curiosity and desire to question were raised by Phil's comment that I must have eyes in the back of my head. His students were intrigued and inspired as well as educated in the intricacies of the French language.

Phil was a fun staff member. He was glad to hear about the silliness or pranks that we were involved in and he might "egg-on" the instigators, but not with the goal of being cruel.

We were complementary personalities in the World Language Department where he taught French and I Spanish. His flamboyance partnered with my caution. If we were competitors it was a friendly competition. I, much to Phil's chagrin, found a signed Sergio Bustamante mixed metal bowl at Goodwill and although Goodwill was not a favorite haunt of his, he confessed to making visits there in hopes of finding something equivalent. Years later he proudly told me about the Bustamente piece that he got in Mexico.

I last saw Phil at the Rehab center in West Seattle a couple of days before his death. I took him a begonia plant because whereas I took sick-leave days to care for sick kids he needed "begonia days" occasionally. We talked about the fact that he was missing the WEA convention, but that he had made plans to return home after getting a new and hopefully lighter cast. He said that he had made arrangement for his recovery care and he hoped to do more traveling eventually. We loved his "field trip reports" about his many trips and I would love to hear his description of the heavenly realms where he now resides.

Helen Anderson
Fellow teacher, department member and friend
July 8, 2016
Phil was a treasured friend and colleague, due to his wit and insights. One of my favorite memories was when my husband and I traveled with him to Copper Canyon Mexico. He was a good friend and will be missed by his Franklin High School family and by me.
Andrea Smith
July 7, 2016
Dear pk... Memories that come to me often are the beautiful pieces of music we sang in the choir at St. John's, Kirkland, especially the difficult ones that you weren't positive we could accomplish, and then we always did; the care that you expressed to each person in the choir, the funny comments comments and stories you shared with us, the delicious treats you brought to coffee hour and at your home. Visits, Friday newsletters, travel blogs, so much more. Your presence in my life has been and continues to be a huge wonderful blessing.
Wilma Neal
June 29, 2016
As one of our mutual Peace Corps friends wisely observed, Phil was the "glue" that helped our Seattle group stay connected over many decades. We enjoyed frequent gatherings at his home, first up on Queen Anne, then in Magnolia. Phil was ever the cordial host, easily whipping up a hearty meal and moving in and of our conversations. One of my last memories of his gracious hosting was how he insisted that one of us take the last chair at the table, while he ate while standing up. Phil was funny, smart, interested in the world, in people. I don't think he ever wasted a minute of his life. I will miss that sly, sweet smirk.
Laraine Hong
June 28, 2016
Humor, broad interests, caring, heart, communicator, friend. I cherished all these things about Phil and I was especially gratified by our 54-year friendship started in the Peace Corps. I am missing him now and still trying to get over the shock. It was a privilege to know Phil and share in his life.
Carolyn Bridge
June 28, 2016
My heart and sincere condolences go out to the Konkel family. We've never met, but I was touched as I read the life and story of your brother, uncle and friend. I'm sure he will be deeply and profoundly missed. Please know that our heavenly Father does understand your pain and as "the God of all comfort", He is there for you during your time of need. (1 Cor. 1:3,4)
Kelsey Hamlitsch
June 23, 2016
Phil will be dearly missed. He was not only our client of 25 years, but more importantly our friend. When we think of Phil these words come to mind: Kind, Respectful, Caring, Thoughtful, Friendly and Non Judgmental. He enjoyed all of our client events over the years and continually kept us up to date with his travel reports. He was one of a kind!

Scott Baukol and Staff
Baukol Retirement Specialists
Scott Baukol
June 21, 2016
Wilma & Jim Neal
June 21, 2016
The Seattle School Retirees Association and the Seattle Schools Scholarship Fund are two organizations whose board members are reeling from the loss of its tireless and dedicated member, Phil Konkel. He supported us all in countless ways with cheerful optimism, and boundless energy.
Eleanor Toews
June 20, 2016
Mr. Konkel was a great teacher at Franklin! Great memories. I had no idea he lived such a incredible life of travel and giving!
Richard Boudet
June 20, 2016
To Philip's family, my sincere condolences. If I ever make it to heaven, the one person I will see there will be Philip; if I go the other way, I will miss him even more than I do now. He was the most charitable man I've ever known, and obviously I held him in very high esteem. He deserved it. He left the world a much better place than it was when he entered it, and I'm grateful I was there during some of that time.
Jeri Creason
June 20, 2016
Jeri Creason
June 20, 2016
Phil was my upstairs neighbor and I will miss him. His Spirit and Energy were motivational.
Whitney Reidy
June 20, 2016
To the family and friends of Phil Konkel, I extend my deepest sympathies. Phil and I became friends in college, even dating briefly. I appreciated his intelligence and quick wit, his musical talent, his sense of adventure and joie de vivre. We reconnected about 10 years ago, and he added me to his Friday email list. I particularly enjoyed reading about his travels, volunteer work, and humorous tag lines. Sadly, I'm going to miss that weekly "visit" from Phil. He will be missed.
Gail J. Wing
June 20, 2016
Who is going to answer my questions on grammar?! Who is going to keep me posted on friends from years ago at St. John's, Kirklnd? Who is going to suggest new books to read? Who is going to write reports on interesting travels? Who is going to write to me every Friday and usually put a smile on my face? Who is going to surprise me with a Sunday morning visit to Saint Mark's Cathedral? Oh, Philip, I have been soo blessed by having had you as a friend! Thank you, God, for that blessing! May Philip rest in peace with beautiful music all around.
Jonie Pritchard
June 20, 2016
Peace Corps years saw Phil as much appreciated organist at British Embassy Church of Saint Nicolas , Ankara Turkey. He was a much loved friend : JOHN MOODY (former Chaplain)
June 20, 2016
Oh my Mr. Konkel, how I enjoyed you as my awesome teacher at Franklin High School. You will be missed.
Teresa Agopsowicz Wells
June 19, 2016
Always generous with hi music and his praise of others. I thank God I had the privilege of knowing Philip. Fr. Bob Dunn
Robert Dunn
June 19, 2016
A great man. It was a big honor to be his friend. I traveled through his weekly letters. He opened the world to many.
Teresa Pastor
June 19, 2016
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