Phillip Gene Heilman passed away Friday, March 5, 2021, at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital at the age of 69. Phillip Gene (as he was known to most of his aunts and uncles) was born to Phil C. Heilman and Marlene (Morford) Heilman in the early hours of December 26, 1951. Even on the day preceding his birth with a Christmas goose still in the oven, Phillip decided to make his boisterous entrance into this world, the same cheery boisterous entrance family and friends would come to know and love. He was to be the oldest of six children.
Phil’s early education started in the Harrah and Moxee areas. Once the family settled in Yakima, Phil furthered his education at Stanton Junior High and graduated from A.C. Davis High School in 1970. Shortly after he graduated, Phil enlisted with the Air Force stationed at Mather AFB, Sacramento, California. While there his parents had a very memorable “road-trip” to visit him that first summer, all five kids and dog in tow, definitely a vacation to remember. Phil served two years before he was honorably discharged in September of 1973.
Once back home in Washington State, Phil found work at the Goldendale Aluminum Plant. This is where he met and married Nancy Counts, and together, with her young daughter Heather, they became a family in 1974. During their time together, the couple welcomed both a son, Travis, and soon after a daughter, Gretchen, into their family. Phil and Nancy spent several years together before they parted ways.
Phil had different jobs over the years, working at Boise Cascade Plywood and Washington Beef, to name a couple. He ended with a 25-plus year career with Safeway starting in the meat department, and in his later years he also cashiered and stocked shelves. He was the ‘Cashier Santa Claus’ during most Holiday seasons, always making the customers smile.
Phil was quite the character and a fun-loving person to be around. All through his life he loved to imitate and sing as one of his favorite people, Elvis Presley. He actually was pretty good, but we never fed that ego! He definitely had the moves, and oh how he could make everyone laugh!
Phil loved family, his parents, and his children, whom he talked of often and was so very proud of. There was always a sparkle that came to his eyes and his tone became excited when speaking of his grandchildren who he loved dearly. Phil also loved talking to his many aunts and hanging with his brother, John. He had fond memories of accompanying his Dad to the casino, and we all know that he loved the horse races! He was an avid sports fan, especially of football and the Seahawks! His knowledge of the game surprised many!
Phil is survived by son Travis (Holly) Heilman and their daughter Paisley; his daughter Gretchen (Jason) Nunn and their children, Dakota, Wyatt, Emily and Samantha; stepdaughter Heather (Jamie) Cotton and their children, Nicholas, Zachary, Gabriel, and Kamryn. Phil is also survived by his sister-in-law Othella Heilman; brother John Heilman; sisters Linda (Milo) Wilson, and Brenda (Kevin) Sauve; as well as many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and friends.
Phil was preceded in death by his mother and father, Marlene and Phil C. Heilman, and two brothers, Brian and Rick Heilman.
During this time, there will be no memorial service but please welcome closure in the fond and loving memories we all shared of Phillip, the son, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, and friend that he was to all.
“Phil – you lived such a simple life, but your heart was BIG, and, in the end, it is what took you from us!” We get comfort in knowing that you were welcomed into Heaven by so many and especially by loving parents and brothers, who have been missed so dearly. Phil, may you rest in peace until we meet again.
Brookside Funeral Home is caring for the family. Memories and condolences can be shared at www.brooksidefuneral.com.