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Olinger Crown Hill Mortuary & Cemetery

7777 West 29th Ave, Wheat Ridge, CO

OBITUARY

Philip Edward OKunewick

May 30, 1960February 10, 2020

Philip (Phil) OKunewick of Idaho Springs, Colorado died Monday, February 10th, 2020 after a battle with Glioblastoma (brain cancer).

Phil is survived by his wife, Diane OKunewick, sons John (12) and Edward (9), brother Eric OKunewick and sisters Natalie Spradling and Mary Zaffron.

Phil was born in Hollywood, California. His family moved to Maryland when he was about six years old and then to Pittsburgh, PA when he was about eight years old. Phil had a life-long passion of working with electronics. He attended Carnegie Mellon University after graduating high school, but soon realized it was more fun fixing computers than studying them. Phil took a job with MiniServ, a small business computer repair company. It was from this experience that Phil realized that he could fix pretty much everything. His wife (Diane) used to say that “he could fix anything but dinner”. After a few years of fixing computers, Phil went back to college and received his degree in Computer Science from Pennsylvania State University. He remained with the University after graduation, continuing to fix the computers of Penn State Computer Science for many years. He also loved music, playing percussion in the NIttany Valley Symphony but it was his love of rocks and adventure that led him to the Penn State Caving Club where he met his wife (Diane Clark). Phil and Diane moved to Colorado to continue their adventure. They were married in Idaho Springs Colorado in October of 1996. Phil continued to do computer support for US West (the phone company) and eventually IBM, retiring from IBM in January of 2020.

Phil had a passion for helping others learn -- about everything. His passions included history, amateur / HAM radio, conducting radio testing (for others to get their licenses) for ARRL and W5YI. He also loved trains because it was something of history around something he could fix, putting in many volunteer hours at the Colorado Railroad Museum. Phil joined Boy Scouts at a young age and learned vital lifesaving skills, which he soon used to rescue his drowning brother from the rapids of the Youghiogheny river. For this heroic act, Phil was awarded the Boy Scout Medal of Merit. He was also passionate about helping others who were less fortunate, making a point of buying many turkeys for the Denver Rescue Mission’s Turkey Drive every year.

There will be a visitation to remember Phil on Thursday, March 5th, 2020 from 4:00 - 8:00 pm at the Olinger Crown Hill Funeral Home, 7777 W 29th Ave, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.

Funeral Mass for Phil will be held at St. Paul’s Catholic Church, 1632 Colorado Blvd., Idaho Springs CO 80452, Friday March 6th 2020 at 5:00 p.m. Reception to follow.

Also, please bring a rock for Phil. Phil picked up rocks wherever he went. He always found a rock of interest to him. Bring a rock that interests you.

Wear your Boy Scout uniform if you have one, or just wear plaid. Phil always wore plaid, long before it was cool.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to the Clear Creek Robotics Club (Friends of Clear Creek Extension - C4 BOTZ, PO Box 1271, Idaho Springs, CO 80452), Phil’s son John’s Boy Scout Troop (Troop 1776 in Evergreen - 30476 Upper Bear Creek Rd., Evergreen CO 80439) or the Denver Rescue Mission (PO Box 5206, Denver, CO 80217).

Services

5 March

gathering time with friends and family

4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Olinger Crown Hill Mortuary & Cemetery

7777 West 29th Ave
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033

Memories

Philip Edward OKunewick

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Gary Whiting

February 17, 2020

I started working with Phil 27 years ago when I got my first “real” UNIX admin job. Phil was a mix of MacGyver, Bill Nye and Alan Turing. Most days when I went home for the day my head hurt because of all of the information he had crammed into it that day. I will remember Phil for his goofy jokes, like the globe with an empty bag of peas on it- “Peas (peace) on Earth”. But I will remember him more as a great mentor. It may be 27 years later but I still find myself using things that Phil taught me.

And I still keep this one in my “Save” email folder.
echo '[q]sa[ln0=aln256%Pln256/snlbx]sb3135071790101768542287578439snlbxq' | dc

Virginia Holt

February 17, 2020

Dear Phil was an integral part of our lunch bunch at Penn State back in the 1980’s. I had to zip down the corridors snd chivvy Ian’s colleagues to head to the Maple Room. We lost big Bob Ownes early, a few years after Ian left Penn State for the University of North Texas. I remember their laughter, discussions, laughter. We jokingly called Phil Odie after the ever hopeful character in Garfield. I recall his explaining how he took the engine of the Jeep he was restoring and immersing it in his bathtub to do some mechanical testing. I recall visiting them in Golden in a house that seemed delightfully like a magical rock museum. His friends - young and old -will miss his dry wit, bright eyes, and quick smile particularly from the days of our lost shared youth. May he be forever young and hale with a new project awaiting before his family joins him in Paradise. But then that IS Paradise. Friends. Family. Something engaging to do. I am so glad both Ian and I had a few conversations with him before he left us and wish his family peace and comfort.

Andy Zoutte

February 16, 2020

I had the pleasure to work with Phil early on in my career. I was always a little awestruck at depth of knowledge and keen insight. He was willing to share what he knew and help mentor people like myself. Although I didn't keep in touch over the years, I always remembered him and used him as a role model.

Bob Rodine

February 13, 2020

I was lucky to have Phil as part of my team from 2000-2006 and then later worked with him as part of other teams through 2013 when I retired. He was brilliant and a very hard worker and produced amazing results. He had the ability to think outside the box. Phil also was very proud of his family and would share with me their accomplishments. He left us way too soon --- he will be missed.

Elizabeth Simon

February 13, 2020

I worked with Phillip for over 16 years. He was an amazing person and excellent to work with. Like many brilliant people, he had his quirks and he would happily explain security flaws of a system with anyone. In detail. He will be missed. My sincere condolences to his family. I know he loved you greatly.

Elizabeth Berken

February 13, 2020

Us Berkens have known them for such a long time. Always humble, kind and, endearing. Such gratitude for them taking care of our two Great Dane dogs and cat. Theia, Brutis, And Prince the Cat. I will always be grateful for them. Beautiful. My heart gives out.

David Clark

February 13, 2020

Worked with Phil for several years. He was a good friend, always willing to help out. Generally teaching me something in the process. I will miss him. My condolences to Phil's wife and family.

Stephen Berken

February 11, 2020

Philip and Diane were kind enough to take in our two pets when we had to move. They cared for Prince (our cat) and Brutus (Great Dane) for several years. Their graciousness was an enormous relief to us. We are so sorry for this family's loss.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY