It is with heavy hearts we announce that Phil passed away after a year-long battle with Parkinsons Disease and Cancer in his 77th year, at Woodstock Hospital. He passed peacefully and on his own terms with Levon Helm's "When I Go Away" and Johnny Nash "I Can See Clearly Now" playing in the background. He had a new set of drumsticks in hand and was surrounded by loving family including his best friend and partner of 22 years Gwen Losee.
Born in Port Hope Ont, he was the younger son of the late George Norman Strong (2012) and Dorothy Marion Strong (1988) nee Doney. Dear brother of David Doney Strong (Donna) of Port Hope, loving uncle of Deanna, Andrea and Tim. His Creighton cousins Mike, Susan, Robert, Katie, and Chris will miss him greatly. Moving from Toronto to Woodstock in 2002, Phil gained more family. He became a step father to Ron Flowers (Rena) and Lynda Flowers (Greg), along with becoming Grandpa Phil to Mike Tucker (Cynthia), Ron Tucker (Olivia) Steven Tucker (Nicolette), Nicole Flowers (Ryan) and Erica Flowers (Cam). He will be missed by his great-grandchildren Aubree, Jackson, Charlotte, Evelyn, Declan, Logan and Harleigh. Benji his dog and Danglefoot the squirrel already miss their friend.
Phil began his drumming career with the Skeena Sea Cadets in Port Hope. His high school friends formed the band "The Imprints" and have remained close. Moving to Toronto in 1969, and after attending the Ontario College of Percussion, Phil started his life long career in music. He played across Canada and in numerous bands. Improvising using a card board box, sitting around a campfire, to Koerner Hall in Toronto, he was comfortable in any setting and any genre. Playing in his home town at the Port Hope Band Shell was special to him. More recently, he enjoyed playing with "Little Caesar and the Consuls" and with good friends "Mostly Sideways".
Phil was a voracious reader, an encyclopedia of musical knowledge with an amazing vocabulary and the ability to converse knowledgeably about architecture, history, art, New Orleans (he went 19 times!) or the Royal Family. His puns, imitations and quotations were hilarious! He was a fantastic cook and could even make liver taste delicious. His famous fruit cake and Miracle Bars were enjoyed every Christmas. We were introduced to his love of Louisiana style cooking, Jambalaya being his specialty. He was a patient man with a calm quiet demeanor, a great sense of humor, a versatile drummer, a dependable band mate, a good friend to many. Gwen will miss their tours in the country, coffee and long talks on the patio, his wonderful hugs, and enjoying nature and music together.
Special thank you to Dr. Labruzzo, Dr. Chopra, Dr. Kay, Dr. Sondhi, and nurses Abby and Trish for their compassion and kindness.
A Celebration of life will be held at a later date in the spring. Cremation has taken place and interment will be in the Strong family plot in Union Cemetery, Port Hope. Donations made to the Parkinsons Society or Salthaven Wildlife Rescue in memory of Phil would be appreciated.