Passed away peacefully on the evening of Sunday, December 20, 2015 which was 66 years to the day he began dating his gorgeous wife Maureen (nee Bevan). Phil crossed his final finish line; he was an incredible cyclist, competitive sailor and windsurfer. Phil did everything 100 % with absolutely no regrets. He was a mentor and an inspiration whose qualities are clearly found in those whose lives he has touched. Loving father of Anne Tillman-Graham (Kevin), Lise Waller (Scott) and Sara Tillman Whittaker (Peter Wilenius). Cherished grandpa of Max and Essery-Anne Waller and of Olivia Whittaker. Survived by his sister Joy Alldritt. December 24, 2015 would have marked the 17th anniversary of Phil’s liver transplant, a gift that he treasured and respected immensely. A special thank you to all his friends and family who visited and supported him in the last month. Also a big thank you to the team of nurses and doctors at the Queensway Carleton Hospital, Floor A3 and ICU unit. A celebration of life will take place at the Britannia Yacht Club, 2777 Cassels St, Ottawa on Wednesday, January 6, 2015 at 2p.m. In lieu of flowers donations in Phil’s memory can be made to the Queensway Carleton Hospital, Canadian Organ Transplant Association or the Colin Blandy Memorial Fund for young sailors via the Britannia Yacht Club.
Comment from Malcolm McHattie
“Phil was, of course, a major force for 505s and was the architect of my 505 career as others’ – he took me for my first ride one September evening, advised on specifications to order a Parker and conducted the purchases in England and the container transport to Hull, where Peter and I unloaded our boats.
He was the ultimate enthusiast and made life fun – even on a trapeze and flying the spinnaker on a wild plane. He was ever helpful to us all and that was key to the Ottawa fleet becoming formidable on the regatta rounds. His leadership initiated and made the 505 fleet into a success to make any yacht club proud.
Sailing was not his only interests but it is the one I know and most appreciate. I briefly saw him as a windsurfer, visited his kite shop on the market and met several of his work colleagues as well as seeing his family grow.
His influence was major and will be felt for a long time.”
Comment from Marg Hurley
“Phil also sold me my first 505 and got me hooked.“
Comment by Dave Adams
“Phil fixed and milled all the hard repairs on my boat. He was a true craftsman and absolute precision was all that was accepted when it came to Phil. And when you asked him a simple question, plan on spending the rest of the afternoon with him because there is no such thing as a short story when chatting about 505s! The guy was a walking talking muesum of 505 history. It was an honour to meet and spend time with.”
Comment from Jim Dingle
“Phil Tillman was the perfect crew for anyone trying to make the Canadian Olympic Team for the 1976 Games, with the yacht races run on Lake Ontario out of Portsmouth Harbour. He more or less selected me as his skipper to prepare for the trials in the 470 class. Our main Ottawa rivals were Marg Hurley with Peter Wood crewing.
Phil assembled our new boat with a surgeon’s precision. We took it to the McNeil’s in Manotick, slid it down the snowy hillside, and carried it into Donnie’s basement workshop. Every fitting was examined, smoothed if necessary, and permanently reattached. Then Phil constructed a 2×470 trailing rig for the long journeys to the main pre-trials regattas in Key West, Tampa, etc. We had barely arrived there when he quickly checked out the other fast boats to see what we could do to have the best gear.
Phil was great in the boat in any wind-speed. It was such a performance that the skipper could focus 100% on the race – the sail trimming and trapeze work was instant and flawless. (With Phil up front, it felt like one was sailing a Laser.)
We quickly learned that the top boats were sailed by extremely light guys. So, by the trials in June, Phil had dropped his weight from 180 down to 140 pounds. He must have been on a starvation diet.
The weather for the trials was unusual for Kingston, with 10 straight days of clear weather with light winds. The thermal southwest wind would typically arrive just as the afternoon race was ending. Phil and I would scream back to Portsmouth Harbour planing on one long starboard tack — licking our wounds but happy to be in the game.”