Phil Lane Simister, 93 years old, passed away peacefully on June 20, 2023 as a result of complications from pneumonia.
Phil’s vibrant life began on December 20, 1929 in Salt Lake City, Utah, when he was born to Florence (Floss) Thomas Simister and Jared “Earl” Simister. He was the eldest son and had one younger brother, Gary Wayne Simister, born in 1935. Phil had a happy childhood in Salt Lake City and enjoyed school. He was a member of the Bugle Corp and played “Revelry” each morning while the flag was being raised and “To the Colors” each evening when the flag was lowered. His love for music and the bugle translated to his talent for the trumpet. He began trumpet lessons in the 7th grade, and by 10th grade was promoted to 1st trumpet player in the West High School band. In his senior year, he was promoted to pep band leader and student conductor. He also formed a dance band with some classmates which stayed together until 1951, when most of the members either moved away or joined the military. In addition to music, Phil also joined the R.O.T.C. and was made staff sergeant and later cadet captain and cadet major.
Phil’s first job at age 15 was as a “soda jerk” at Bridge Drug Store on the corner of 600 West and North Temple in Salt Lake City. He could pour a soda and scoop ice cream better than anyone in town! Back then (in the 1940’s), he remembers customers purchasing a soda or ice cream cone for only five cents!
Phil graduated from West High School in 1947, and then attended the University of Utah and LDS Business College prior to his military service. He had a knack for numbers and calculations, which made him excited to begin his career at Walker Bank (which would later become First Interstate Bank, then Wells Fargo). He began his banking career in 1949 as a messenger, delivering checks and other bank items to various customers and banks throughout the Salt Lake valley. He was later promoted to a book keeper before he was called to active duty with the Utah Air National Guard in 1951 in the 191st Fighter Bomber Squadron, stationed at the Salt Lake City Airport. He was then stationed in Clovis, New Mexico as a senior clerk during the Korean War conflict. He was honorably discharged in 1956 as Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force.
Prior to being stationed in Clovis, Phil began dating Carol (Kay) Gallacher, who he met through their parents working together at the bank. The two began dating and wrote letters back and forth between Clovis and Salt Lake City. Returning to civilian life, their courtship continued and they were married in Salt Lake City on May 14, 1953. Since both of their fathers also worked at Walker Bank, it was quite the family affair! They spent their two-week honeymoon in Reno, Nevada and San Francisco, California. They were later sealed in the Manti, Utah Temple in December, 1962.
Their first son, Glen Lane Simister, was born prematurely and only lived three days. Their second child, Diane June Simister, was also born small and stayed in the hospital for two weeks. Luckily, she was strong and healthy and came home a spunky and independent red-head!
Following his military service, Phil returned to Walker Bank, where he would work throughout his four-decades long career, ending as Vice President of the bank when he retired. During his banking career, he was an active member of many banking associations and boards.
Phil was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and served in various leadership callings including Bishop of the Rose Park 8th Ward, counselor in the Escalante Branch Presidency, and as a temple worker in the Salt Lake City and Bountiful temples.
His sweet wife, Kay, passed away in 1989 at the young age of 57. He later married Lorna Evans, who he met through their stake church activities. Phil and Lorna remained happily married until her death in 2018.
His talent for the trumpet continued through his life and he loved to play and entertain. As an accomplished musician, he particularly had a knack for jazz music, which he enjoyed performing and listening to, especially to Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass.
His hobbies included wood working, golfing, bowling (he later joined a bowling league), and watching baseball games. He was an avid automobile enthusiast and loved attending classic auto shows and researching all of the latest and greatest vehicles. He helped both of his granddaughters select their first cars! He also loved traveling and yearly family vacations were something he always looked forward to. He was also the official family photographer, always owning the latest and greatest camera to capture the perfect family memories.
Phil loved the simple things in life and was never particularly picky about food. His favorites were The Coachmen restaurant, Wendy’s chili and a frosty, and the carrot cake from Chuck-A-Rama (he had to get his vegetables, after all). His favorite treat of all was a slice of apple pie with cheddar cheese. One of his sayings, “Apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze” is a fond family favorite. He was also content as can be with a simple chocolate chip cookie. He loved family get-togethers and BBQs and never missed a school function, dance or music performance (and there were so many!)
Phil was a proud veteran and served his country well. During a family trip to Disneyland in 2018, he was recognized for his service at a special flag ceremony honoring veterans of all branches of the military. This was a wonderful family moment and memory we will forever cherish.
His kind and amiable personality was noticed by all around him. Phil had many personal and professional achievements throughout his life, but his greatest accomplishments were becoming a loving and supportive son, older brother, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
To his family, he will always be “Grandpa Phil,” a forever proud predecessor of each member of his family, declaring to everyone within earshot – “they’re mine and they’re good ones!”
To his great-granddaughters, he will always be the world’s best whistler, tickler, and authority on everything automobile-related.
To all those who knew him, Phil’s legacy and life story will live on. His kind heart and generous spirit will not be forgotten. His family will continue to strive to make him proud, to brighten the lives of all those around them, and to put a little whistle in everything they do. And that’s exactly the way Phil would want it.
He is preceded in death by his father Earl, mother Florence, younger brother Gary, son Glen, his first wife Kay and second wife Lorna.
He is survived by his daughter Diane (Garn) Morrell, Granddaughters Alicia (Jason) Hall, Charisse Morrell (Kyle Harstead), and great-granddaughters McKenzie and Madison Hall. Through his marriage to Lorna, he took on a bonus family who he loved and considered his own. He is also survived by Kae (Dave) Covington, Greg Evans, and their families as well as Judy Simister (sister in-law), Ryan Simister (nephew), Connie Simister (niece), and Cassidy Whaley (great niece).
Phil’s family would like to echo his sentiment of “thanks a million” to the wonderful and attentive staff at the Layton IHC Hospital. His family would also like to thank the staff of Whisper Cove Assisted Living, where he spent the last 15 months of his life. In particular, Sierra, Jessica, Misty, and Rebecca (of Beehive Health) were great helpers and friends of Phil’s.
His grateful attitude continued until his last day and he was known to all who served him as a caring and gentle man.
A public viewing will be held Thursday, June 22 from 6 – 8 p.m. at Russon Mortuary in Farmington Utah, 1941 N. Main Street, Farmington. A private graveside service will be held on Friday, June 23 at 2 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
Services will be streamed live on the Russon Mortuary & Crematory Facebook page and on this obituary page. The live stream will begin about 10-15 minutes prior to the service and will be posted below.