August 22, 2011
TRAVERSE CITY — Philip Eugene French, 81, of Traverse City and Broomfield, Colo., passed away on Monday, Aug. 22, 2011, surrounded by his loving family. Philip was born Feb. 26, 1930, in Detroit, to the late Verl Alanzo and Pauline Bell (Palhemous) French.He married the late Gayle A. Sewell on Dec. 20, 1958. Together they raised four wonderful children.Phil, as his many friends and family remember him, was always active. He started by assisting his father delivering fuel oil and working the family orchard in Fenton. His love for Michigan and nature led him to complete bachelor's and master's degrees in horticulture from Michigan State University.He interrupted his college studies to serve in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War era. Upon completion of his education and with his fruit farming background, he moved to Traverse City to begin a 33-year career with the USDA Farmers Home Administration. One of Phil's passions was ensuring that farmers and rural Michiganders had the resources they needed to improve their agricultural environment and livelihood. One of his greatest legacies was his willingness to support local farmers, landowners and municipalities. He combined sharp practical business wisdom with faith in the people and their ingenuity.Not surprisingly, Phil's hobbies included gardening and helping with civic and church events in Traverse City. Gardening became a means to both provide for his family and personal enjoyment. Another joy in his life was Traverse City. In 1988 they founded an assisted living community, the French Manor. Dedicated to Phil's parents, he and Gayle wanted to establish a place to provide 'care with dignity' for seniors. During the 47 years of his residence, Traverse City became the home-place of his heart. Phil was passionate about caring for and preserving this special part of Northern Michigan.Surviving Philip are his children, Timothy (Kathy) French, of Paris, Texas, Tammi (Mike) DiRenzo, of Broomfield, Colo., Todd (Kimberly) French, of Portland, Ore., and Tracy (Julie) French, of Conifer, Colo.; 10 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.Phil was preceded in death by his parents, Verl and Pauline French; sister, Joyce Caverly; and loving wife, Gayle.Visitation for Phil will take place on Monday, Aug. 29, 2011, from 4 to 8 p.m., at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home. Funeral services will take place Tuesday, Aug. 30, at 10 a.m., at The Presbyterian Church in Traverse City. Pastor David Ramage will serve as officiant. Burial will take place at Oakwood Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be directed to the Alzheimer's Association (alz.org) or to the Lutheran Collier Hospice Center (www.exempla.org/hospice). Please sign Phil's online guestbook at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com. The family is being served by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home.
TRAVERSE CITY — Philip Eugene French, 81, of Traverse City and Broomfield, Colo., passed away on Monday, Aug. 22, 2011, surrounded by his loving family. Philip was born Feb. 26, 1930, in Detroit, to the late Verl Alanzo and Pauline Bell (Palhemous)... View Obituary & Service Information
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