Challenging, adventurous, deep thinker, the most loving person known
When not using drugs, Phil was the most loving, fun, kind, caring, and selfless person. He helped others before himself and always kept a room laughing. He supported others in their struggles and truly wanted to find a way out of his substance use disorder. Phil was an outstanding lacrosse and soccer player who loved exploring the woods, being in nature, and had a love for animals and children.
He and his oldest brother Everett grew up doing everything together and were extremely close. Phil was a wonderful big brother to his little sister, Maddie. “They were best friends, and he spent hours caring for her,” his mom, Beth said. He would talk with her on the phone, giving her advice to help guide her in the right direction. “He was her rock, and she is incredibly devastated by his loss,” his mother said.
Growing up, Phil was in advanced classes and the gifted programs at school, though he lost interest quickly unless the work was hands-on and interesting. Family vacations included road trips to Oregon, where Phil spent hours in the woods, feeding Elk and watching wildlife. On a ski trip, he jumped on a sled and started down a steep hill. As his mother watched from the window, she was horrified to see he was headed toward a big truck. As he approached it, he laid back on the sled and slid directly under it, feeling exhilarated about the experience.
Though Phil sometimes worked in restaurants, he primarily worked with animals in various kennels and animal resorts. After having six months of sobriety, Phil planned to come home, reunite with his family, go back to school and work with his mother, who has a nursing degree, to help others with addiction. Unfortunately, he passed before that could happen.
Sometimes, in active addiction, Phil became selfish and angry and said things that were hurtful and mean; when he was sober, he would apologize. “He always told me he loved me and said he knew I was just trying to help him,” his mom said. Their phone calls always ended with “I love you mom, I’m going to beat this and come home,” she said. ‘I still hear his laugh and it makes me smile, but I really miss his big hugs.’
Beth now advocates to help others in addiction, teaches Narcan classes, and has spoken in the community about substance use. She said, “This is how I work through my grief; I know this is what Phil would want. I live through him and keep him alive in my heart.”
Phil’s mother, Beth Baldwin, provided the information for this narrative.
February 28, 1994-March 5, 2017
Age 23-Lived with the disease of addiction 8 years