He was born in 1925 in Piqua, Ohio, a small town about 15 miles north of Dayton. As a young man, Phil felt God's strong call to the Christian ministry. Phil attended Ohio State University in Columbus for one year and then entered the Chaplain Training Program with the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Phil received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., and a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, N.Y. He also holds a master's degree in Counseling from St. Francis College in Fort Wayne, Ind., and an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Franklin College in Franklin, Ind.
Phil served as lead pastor at two American Baptist churches in Indiana from 1948 to 1987. He served Meadowbrook Baptist Church in Anderson for 13 years and First Baptist Church in Fort Wayne for 26 years.
Phil married his wife, Anna, in 1949 and they celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary in August 2012. After retirement from the full-time ministry in 1987, Phil and Anna moved to Green Bay, Wis., to be closer to family and grandchildren. They were active members of First United Presbyterian Church, De Pere, and moved to Tudor Oaks Retirement Community in Muskego, Wis., in March 2011. They were also summer residents at Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake, Wis., for many years.
The Rev. Philbrook was a very caring and compassionate pastor who loved and supported the people in the churches that he served and in the communities where he lived. He was affectionately referred to as "Reverend Phil" throughout his time in the ministry.
He also had a great sense of humor and was a popular after- dinner speaker at various clubs and organizations. Phil was a lifelong active member of the Lions Club and Masonic Lodge, where he received the honorary 33rd degree, which is the highest level attainable. He was also active in the Green Bay Retired Men's Club. As a prostate cancer survivor, he was co-founder of the Green Bay Prostate Cancer Support Group.
Phil is survived by his wife, Anna, of Muskego, Wis.; brother, Dr. Syd (Rose) Philbrook of La Porte, Ind.; daughter, Cindy Finesilver (Alan) of DePere, Wis.; son, Stephen (Karen) Philbrook of Mahomet; three grandchildren, Matthew Finesilver of Menomonee Falls, Wis., Betsy Haberl (Jim) of Evanston and Courtney Reynolds (Nathan) of East Lansing, Mich.; and two great-grandchildren, Avi Finesilver and Oliver Phillip Haberl.
Visitation will be at Cotter Funeral Home, 860 N. Webster Ave., De Pere, Wis., from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16, followed by a Masonic service at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Nov. 17, at First United Presbyterian Church, 605 N. Webster Ave., De Pere, there will be visitation from noon to 2 p.m., funeral service at 2 p.m. with the Rev. Will Tabb officiating, and reception at 3 p.m.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.cotterfuneralhome.com.
Memorials may be given to the First United Presbyterian Church, De Pere, Building Fund, Tudor Oaks Retirement Community in Muskego, Wis., or the Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake, Wis.