Phillip Wayne Wierson
1935 - 2020
Phillip Wayne Wierson
Avondale Estates, GA - Phillip Wayne Wierson, long-time administrator at Georgia State University, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend, passed out of this life Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020. He died peacefully at his home in Avondale Estates, surrounded by people he loved. He was 85.
Phil is survived by his wife Carolyn, his brother Paul, his daughter Michelle, his son Scott, daughter-in-law Deb, grandson Philip, and granddaughters Haley, Hannah and Taylor, as well as many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, John and Celia Wierson, and his brothers Jack and Stan.
Phil was born in Story City, Iowa on May 16th, 1935, where he was raised on the Wierson farm outside of town. He lettered in football, basketball and baseball for Story High, and after graduation attended Luther College. He later graduated from the University of Iowa and taught high school for two years before receiving the NDEA Fellowship at the University of Missouri-Columbia. There he met the love of his life, Carolyn Harris, whom he called "Green Eyes." After they married in 1963 and he earned his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, they migrated to the south. Phil became a professor at the University of Georgia. In 1967 he was recruited to develop the Counseling Center at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Phil took a fledgling program and built it into a model for colleges and universities across the country. He was known among his colleagues and supervisees as deeply ethical, a fair-minded administrator, and a person who fought for equity and justice. After 25 years as the Director of the Counseling Center, Phil retired in 1992 and returned to the faculty, where he served as a Professor until 1998. For years afterward he had a private practice as a Counselor and consulted for the Social Security Administration. Phil's professional career spanned over four decades and impacted the lives of thousands of people.
Much as he was dedicated to his work, Phil cared even more for his family. He often commented that becoming a father made him a better person. He and Carolyn welcomed their daughter Michelle in 1966 and their son Scott in 1968, and they were the most important part of his life. Later, when he became a grandfather, he poured his heart into his grandchildren, who called him "Guk Guk." He was a father and grandfather of warmth, integrity, and fun – lots of fun. He could make a game out of anything.
Phil was an avid sports enthusiast, and played tennis for many years with ALTA. He and Carolyn even went to the Senior Olympics in doubles tennis after he retired. He played golf and tennis regularly, and had a wonderful group of buddies in Gainesville who shared this with him. He was actively involved with Christ Lutheran Church, the Rotary Club of Gainesville, and the LPCA. He loved to travel with Carolyn, and the two of them trekked all around the world together. But his true hobby was people. He was always interested in others, their experiences, their opinions, their concerns. Phil was known for his quick wit and how well he listened to the people around him. He lit up a room when he entered it, and he had a way of making every single person in that room feel special. Even when his disease (Progressive Supranuclear Palsy or PSP) took his ability to communicate verbally, he still made personal connections. He will be profoundly missed by everyone who was lucky enough to know him.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Emory Brain Health Center. Checks should be made to "Emory University" and mailed to Clifton Rd NE, Suite 1400, Atlanta, GA 30322. Please reference Emory Brain Health and "in memory of Dr. Wierson."
There will be a virtual celebration of Phil's life at a later time. The family can be contacted at [email protected] for further details.
Published by Story City Herald from Nov. 6 to Nov. 11, 2020.
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16 Entries
Dr Phil Weirson was so supportive of us, classmates of graduate Carolyn at GSU. He was a faithful friend to all and GSU. Dr Priscilla Oliver, PhD, Lifetime Alumnus, GSU.
Priscilla Oliver, PhD
April 6, 2021
I was so sorry to learn of Phil's passing. Even though I had not seen him in many years, I have good memories of him from Georgia State where he hired me for my first job in Atlanta. He was very good to his staff, very caring and supportive. My deepest sympathy to you Carolyn, Michelle and Scott.
Nancy Barrett Leitch
November 14, 2020
I was at the start of ‘Phil and Carolyn’. I was Carolyn’s maid of honor. As we stood there ready to process in and Phil and his grooms men stood at the alter. We looked down and the flower girl had no flowers in her basket! So while Phil waited shifting from foot to foot someone went out and stole flowers from a neighbors yard!
Phil and I ran the Peachtree 3 year and Carolyn and Scott ran it too. One year Scott ran in sandals and beat us all!
I loved the way he would start telling a story and start laughing in the middle of it. He will be missed but he will also be remembered
Linda Garlin
November 12, 2020
My deepest condolences to Carolyn, Michelle and Scott.
Phillip was a Great man. He was a second father to me. I still remember how he used to hide those beautiful easter eggs in the backyard and would just wait for me to find them. His smile would light up the room.
I will truly miss him. Phil will always stay in my heart.
Hana Hajj
November 11, 2020
Hi Carolyn,
It's your friendly Hidden Harbor neighbors from several years back. It was always a pleasure to be around Phil as he had that wonderful and pleasant smile he shared with everyone.
Of course, Gary and Phil had that Iowa connection and they had fun conversing and comparing notes about life in the Midwest.
Please know that even though we've not seen each other in quite a while -- we have thought of you two. We've even been down that Mallard Point cull-de-sac a couple times to see the "old neighborhood".
Blessings to you and your family.
Sally & Gary
Sally Conn
November 10, 2020
Phil was what we all called "a good man", boss, colleague and friend. He was respectful and supportive of his employees, understood the loyal opposition, and could take both the good and bad with a sense of humor. He loved to talk sports, consider new programs to help the students, and play tennis. He was well rounded and kind. He will be missed. ...Marolyn
Marolyn Wells
November 10, 2020
In addition to the beautiful tribute posted, I also remember the fun times with Phil--his humor and enthusiasm plus challenges professional and physical, e.g., the field course and Peachtree Road Race. All these memories stay with us so clearly and so cherished.
Bonnie Fritz
November 10, 2020
We are so blessed that this man and your family have been woven in our lives. Phil's kindness, compassion, and generosity impacted our family in all the best ways. Praying for your peace and sharing in your loss. Phil was a great man.
Kathy & Steve Scales
Kathleen Scales
November 8, 2020
Dear Carolyn,
We fondly remember Phil with his smile and pleasant demeanor. We especially remember going to your house for dinner and him being such a pleasant host and lending us books and watching the TV. We loved having both of you as dear friends and we like to remember him as an active and intelligent conversationalist in our dinners with you. We wish you all blessings as you go on and hope life will become much easier for you. We love you.
Cal and Virginia
November 8, 2020
November 1969 was the first time I met Phil, Carolyn and the children at that time Michelle, then 3 years old and Scott was i year old. After a lot of attempts from the
to get together, Carolyn called me one Saturday and said " I got you you are not going to run away from me, Phil is coming at 5:00 pm to pick you up and have dinner with us. Sure enough that Saturday Phil and Scott came to my place and picked me up and I met the family. Since then and for 51 years I never ever experienced a wonderful relationship with this wonderful family. We became one family, I met Phil parents. His mother was always keen to see me when she comes to visit Phil, when they were in Decatur, then to Gainsville. I met the father, I met Brother Stan and Paul. I met Mrs. Harris, Carolyn mother. We really became one family. To the best, Phil and Carolyn came to my daughter wedding in Amman Jordan, and spent few days. They both went to Petra and rode camels. Then we went to Lebanon, and had marvelous time.
From all this, I wanted to say that this family became part of my family and on all occasions Phil was the most wonderful host and brother and friend.
I will miss you a lot Phil. You will always be in my heart and we will never forget you my dear friend.
Mohammad Hajj
November 7, 2020
Phil was a fellow tennis player with the Silver Topper’s Group in Gainesville. A tremendous competitor and a great personality, he was always a mentor and motivator among the group. A finer gentleman, I have never met. He will be sadly missed by all. My condolences to Carolyn and his entire family.
Don Arsenault
November 7, 2020
You were a great friend and awesome client! You'll forever be missed. Much hugs and love to the family. Love.
Coach Krystie
Coach Krystie (roar fitness)
November 6, 2020
I thank God for the friendship that my family and I shared with Phil. His strong faith in God led him to be a leader in the building of Christ Lutheran Church in Oakwood. Phil loved helping people. He loved his own family and church family dearly. Christ Lutheran is where we met and sang in the choir. For many years we played golf. I was Blessed to have Phil as my friend.

Bill Wonnacott
November 6, 2020
I thank God for the friendship that my family and I shared with Phil. His strong faith in God led him to be a leader at Christ Lutheran Church in Oakwood. Phil loved helping people. He loved his own family and church family dearly. Christ Lutheran is where we met served and sang in the choir. For many years we played golf. I was Blessed to have Phil as my friend.

Bill Wonnacott
November 6, 2020
To Phil's family: This write-up is a beautiful tribute to Phil. He was my boss for decades and I truly love him for his caring, fairness, firmness, understanding, and encouragement. Love to each one of you. Bebe
Barbara (Bebe) Cheshire
November 6, 2020
My thoughts were on an email sent when I heard of Phil's passing:
Dear Carolyn and family, How sad to learn of Phil leaving all of us. We are so glad you brought Phil to California a few years ago so we could see both of you then!

Phil was my classmate, my cousin, my roommate at Iowa U. He was also my teammate at Story City High School. on the football team (undefeated in 1953) and basketball league champs! So many memories remain with him on the farm and in class. Orpha and I were talking about Phil, as we were on our way home to Palm Desert, California today. We were talking about Phil and wondering about both of you. We were leaving after 5 days at one of our favorite beach time-shares in Dana Point, Ca. We will hold you all in our thoughts and prayers, and we will mourn the loss of a great man and a wonderful person.

Love and Good Thoughts from Orpha and Jerry Holm

Jerry Holm
November 6, 2020
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