Mr. Philip "Phil" Cotton
Philip James Cotton
Phil Cotton, affectionately known as “Uncle Phil”, passed away peacefully in his sleep on May 6, 2018 at the age of 77.
Born in Hamilton, Phil began his musical career early on, singing as a boy soprano and taking piano lessons. He moved to Thunder Bay in 1955, completed high school at F.W.C.I., earned his teaching certificate in music, then studied conducting in London, England. In 1961, Phil began his almost 40-year career as a music teacher, first as an elementary choral teacher and later as Head of Music at P.A.C.I. He loved seeing students succeed and traveled widely with his bands, including a 1977 trip to England. He also served as conductor for the Lakehead Choral Group and the Alpini Men’s Choir.
Phil married the love of his life, Carolyn (Farrell) in 1967. Together they shared a passion for the outdoors, spending many summers camping and teaching canoeing to YMCA participants. In the 1980s and 90s, Phil guided trips in the Wabakimi and Quetico areas and was a passionate forest management planning advocate in Northwestern Ontario. In his retirement, Phil returned to this passion full-time, establishing the Wabakimi Project (2004) to map historic canoe routes and the Friends of Wabakimi (2014) to carry on this legacy.
Phil will be lovingly remembered by his children Patricia and John (Karen), and by dear friends Debbie, Bill, Barry, and Cary. He will be dearly missed by his brothers Paul (Cathy), Murray (Dorothy), brother-in law David, nieces and nephews, as well as fellow musicians and canoeing enthusiasts.
He was predeceased by his wife Carolyn, sister Heather, and parents Cecil and Edna.
A celebration of Phil’s life will be held on July 7 in Thunder Bay. Donations in memory of Phil can be made to Friends of Wabakimi. Arrangements have been entrusted to the WESTFORT CHAPEL, 420 West Gore Street at James.