Phil was born on January 10, 1932 to Harold and Winifred Brokaw in Whittier California. He passed away December 11, 2010 at Hoag hospital at age 78 after a four month battle with Leukemia. As a child he often vacationed in Balboa with his family and in 1968 he bought a home on the Balboa Peninsula.
Phil’s father worked with Randolph Hass to grow and promote the Hass avocado. He propagated hundreds of trees from the one mother tree located in La Habra. Phil lived in a home in Pico Rivera that sat on eight acres of land that had both Hass and Fuerte avocado trees. He and his father maintained hundreds of trees, sometimes lighting smudge pots in the middle of the night to keep the cold weather from spoiling the fruit. In 1971, Phil moved to Ventura where he worked with his cousin, Hank Brokaw at his avocado and citrus nursery.
Phil joined the National Guard in 1953. He spent every other weekend and two weeks during the summer serving his country. In the 1960’s he worked in the oil industry in the Middle East where he built new refineries and retrofitted existing ones. Back in the U.S. he continued working for engineering firms servicing domestic oil production with occasional trips to the off-shore platforms in the Santa Barbara channel.
Phil retired at age 58. He was well known in the beach community for his long morning walks on either the ocean front or on Balboa Island. He would meet with several of his friends at a local restaurant for coffee then head out to the Balboa pier to see what the fishermen brought in during the night. He carried a small baggie of cat food with him on his walks and fed several cats he came to know. He was named one of the “Faces of Balboa” by the beach community’s local newspaper.
Phil was dedicated to his family and had a fierce love of life. He loved nothing more than getting together with family and friends. Phil leaves behind his loving wife Sylvia of 48 years, his two daughters Cherie and Ellen, devoted son-in-laws Barry Weston and Lance Cardone, granddaughter Lacy Herrick, great-grandchildren Gage and Mia Miller, his brother Bill, sister-in-law JoAnn along with several friends and family members.
A viewing will be held Thursday, December 16, 2010 from 12:00 P.M. to 1:00 P.M. at Dilday Brothers. A grave-side service will be held at 1:30 P.M. immediately following the viewing.