Phillip D. Mather, age 73 years, formerly of Niles, Michigan died unexpectedly at 7:42 p.m. on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 at the Jellico (Tennessee) Community Hospital following a medical emergency while traveling to Florida.
He was born on January 6, 1945 in Niles to Jake J. and Jean (Moneysmith) Mather, and was graduated from Niles High School in the class of 1963. He began a career in machine repair at Clark Equipment in Buchanan, Michigan, but was called in 1965 to serve in the United States Army. He was a Medical Corpsman serving with the 12th Field Hospital at Fort Leonard Wood, and was honorably discharged as a Veteran of the Vietnam Era. He returned to Clark Equipment where he completed 20 years before the plant was closed. He was then employed at the South Bend plant of Federal-Mogul for twenty-seven years prior to retirement.
After living in Niles all of his life, he and Rose moved to Dorr, Michigan to be near their daughter and her family.
Phil enjoyed camping with his family at Michigan State Parks, and was taking his travel trailer to Florida last week. His interest in machinery repair continued at home where he helped friends and neighbors with small engine repair, and was near the end of a years-long project of building a personal hovercraft. He also enjoyed carpentry including home repair and building decks. He always had a pet companion nearby, but his greatest joy was his family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Jake and Jean Mather, and by a brother, Kevin Mather.
On July 5, 1969 in Buchanan he married the former Rosalee Shelby with whom he celebrated this year the forty-ninth anniversary of their wedding.
Surviving family includes his wife, Rosalee Mather and their daughter, Heather (& David) Leszczynski of Dorr; grandchildren, Kathryn Leszczynski and David “DJ” Leszczynski; and Phil’s siblings, Jeanette Frazier, Charles (& Angie) Mather, Jeffrey (& Robin) Mather, and Penny (& Jared) Baker, all of Niles, Jennifer Goldsburg of Vandalia; a sister-in-law, Lori Mather of Niles; and many nieces and nephews.
The family of Phillip Mather will receive relatives and friends beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, November 30, 2018 at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles. A sharing of memories and words of comfort will begin at 2:00 p.m. on Friday with the Rev. Jeffrey L. Whittaker of Michiana Christian Embassy officiating. Committal will follow at the Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles and will conclude with the Veteran’s Flag Presentation and “Taps” by the United States Army Honor Guard.
Contributions in memory of Phil may be made to the American Heart Association, https://www.heart.org/en/affiliates/michigan/western-michigan; or to the Humane Society of Southwest Michigan Yeager Family Pet Shelter, http://humanesocietyswm.org/.