Obituary of Phillip Lorain Albin Obenchain
Phillip Obenchain, 99, of Boise, Idaho, passed away on July 2, 2023 in Boise, Idaho.
Our Dad wrote his own obituary some years ago, so we begin with that:
Phillip was born one June day, the fourteenth to be precise, in the year 1924. Now that, isolated as a date, doesn’t seem so long ago. However, if one were to say that it was during the administration of Calvin Coolidge, the date assumes the cobwebs and dust of ancient history. Thus, you may take your choice.
The birth took place in the Swedish American Hospital in Rockford, Illinois . . . in “the Land of Lincoln” as he was taught when he was young. His mother, Violet Isaacson Obenchain, grew up in Rockford. His father, Artie Obenchain, the eldest of thirteen children, was from an Idaho pioneer family.
When Phillip was seven years of age in 1931 the family returned to his father’s home in Ketchum, Idaho, where many of the Obenchains still lived. His family remained there for two years, then spent two years in Hailey, Idaho. By 1935 they made their way to Boise, his father’s birthplace, where the family – soon to be nine children – might better receive an education. The family resided in Boise’s North End for many years.
Phillip graduated from Boise High School in 1942. While there he became editor of The Courier, the high school yearbook. In his senior year he was also awarded membership in the National Honor Society. He then enrolled at the local college (now Boise State University), but his first year was cut short by his volunteering for the Army at eighteen years of age on December 2, 1942. The Army then sent him back to college at Texas College of Arts & Industry, where he earned another year of credits.
Within a week or so of leaving the Army school, Phillip was on his way overseas to England and the European Theatre of Operations (ETO). Not long after D-Day he landed at Omaha Beach with the First Army. In the remaining months of the war, he was an Intelligence Observer with three U.S. Armies: the First Army, Patton’s Third Army and the Ninth Army. He took part in four principal campaigns: Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland and Central Europe. After a three-year absence, never having had a furlough or even an overnight pass, he arrived home in Boise on Christmas Eve, 1945.
He had re-enrolled in college once again and attended classes for the following twelve months when he was recruited by the company, Cline Advertising Agency, where he was employed for thirty-eight years. He served in every capacity from assistant production manager to president of the corporation, but his favored work was always the agency’s creative work.
In October 1949 he married Rose Margaret Kafer of Rapid City, South Dakota and in October of 2009 they celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary. They had two children, Sigrid and Phillip, Jr.
Phillip retired from advertising in 1985 and was active in consulting work for several years. Upon retirement, he was able to find time for painting, even though he was concurrently writing a column for Idaho Senior News; he wrote the column for thirteen years. Among other writing accomplishments, was his historical novel, Refrain of the Night Wind, published in 2009. Having studied art through high school and college, a return to that interest occupied much of his time. Today, a number of oil paintings adorn Boise walls as evidence of his applying brush to canvas.
In addition to the above written by our Dad, we would add a few highlights to his life story.
Phil was active in civic organizations, serving as the first president of the Boise Better Business Bureau of Treasure Valley (1962-63) in which he was a charter organizer; Kiwanis Club of Capital City, serving as president in 1968; and the Greater Boise Chamber of Commerce, board of directors and vice president (1970). He was also active in several advertising organizations, including the American Advertising Federation, which awarded him a National Addy Award for creative work in 1968, a National Addy Award in 1974, and in 1975 awarded him the Silver Medal Award, the first Idaho recipient to receive it. Soon after retiring from advertising, he was persuaded by the president of the College of Idaho to leave retirement and serve as the Dean of Enrollment Management/Marketing, where he served for the next few years.
Phil and Rose enjoyed the social events of various groups over the years, including the Gowen Field Officers Club, Kiwanis, the Chamber of Commerce, their dinner bridge group and a large circle of friends. He collected a sizeable library on topics of chief interest to him: History, economics, the military and classic literature. He traveled to England and France several times, focusing on history, art and cathedral architecture. Phil was never happier than when surrounded by our large, closely-knit, extended families, both Phil and Rose having come from large families. There are countless warm memories of family holidays, reunions, dinners, luncheons and picnics over the years.
Though in failing health, our old soldier managed to celebrate his 99th birthday with lemon cake and coffee, birthday cards and gifts.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Rose, his sisters Madeleine Rath and Delight Brislain, and his brothers Dan, Tom and Carl Obenchain. He is survived by his daughter Sigrid Perrin (Carl), son Phillip, Jr. and granddaughters Melissa (Josh) and Kristin (Kyle) and great-granddaughter Betty, and by his sisters Connie Dick, June Keithly and brother Ted Obenchain (Jessica), sister-in-law Virginia Obenchain, and many treasured nieces and nephews.
There will be a brief Military Honors service at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, located at 10100 Horseshoe Bend Road, on Friday, July 21, 2023 at 10:00 a.m., directly followed by a gathering at the Sunrise Pavilion in the Stephen Guerber Park in Eagle. For those who wish to make a memorial contribution in Phillip’s memory the family suggests a scholarship of your choice at Boise State University or a charity of your choice.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Phillip Obenchain, please visit Tribute Store