story from John Kirkpatrick

by Don

Phil Burress – The Man

You hear it all the time in sports. “You the man!” You hear buddies saying to each other, and family men barking it at most any competition. “You the man!” When I look back at my time with Phil and his family growing up, I don’t think of Phil as an athlete, or an overly competitive guy, or a hardnosed rough around the edges man’s man. Sure if you just met Phil for the first time all you might notice is his scruffy face, his dirty and sometimes ripped t-shirt, his jeans with paint or grease stains, and his wild windblown white and grey hair. I could see how sometimes this would make him a bit intimidating at first glance. But it never took long to change that perspective. To me, Phil was definitely a guy I looked up to growing up. He was a man that loved his children, wife, and family. He loved his friends. He loved his clutter, his tools, hi car parts, and his organized chaos. He was a man that welcomed people into his home and shared life experience with them. He was a man that would show you the ropes and tell you what you needed to know. He was a man that tried to make people better, and look for the funny things in life. He was a man that while I knew him, always was joking, laughing, high fiving, slapping you on the back, saying hi, and encouraging you, and loving you. Even though we all grow up, and the number of times we all touch base and get together grows farther and farther apart, Phil is one of those influences on my life that I will always look back on and remember what little lessons in life he gave me. I will always remember the gigantic batches of spaghetti he would make us boys to refuel. I will always remember his sense of humor, and his welcoming smile, and his strength.

To me, Phil, you are without a doubt……the man.

John Kirkpatrick