PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — Philip George Eklund of Portsmouth, RI, born February 13, 1944, at Aitkin Community Hospital, Aitkin, MN passed peacefully in his home on November 9, 2017, surrounded by family and friends.
He is predeceased by his parents Elmer(d) and Marguerite (Anderson) (d) Eklund of Isle, MN.
Phillip was one of 10 children; Roy(d) and Betes (Eklund) Paulson, Lavonne and Ralph(d) Cooper, Marlyn and Shirley Eklund, Norman(d) and Helen Eklund, Larry(d) and Ruthie Eklund, Jerry and Faye(d) Eklund, Corrine and Bob(d) Maxwell, Elaine and Dennis McPheeters, Jeanie and Phillip Brooks, all of which still reside in Minnesota.
He also leaves behind 5 children: Nicole (Eklund) Davis and Matt Davis, Tami (Eklund) Chestnut and Adam Chestnut, Kim (Eklund) Lewis and Brian Lewis, Colin McKeon, and Kate (McKeon) Acosta; and 14 grandchildren: Kai Phoenix, Brooke McKeon, Sydney Davis, Daniel Acosta, Emma Chestnut, Whitney McKeon, Olivia Davis, Owen Chestnut, Ty Babcock, Kirby Davis, Abaigael and Isabella McKeon, and Boden and Lucas Lewis. In addition, Phil leaves behind many nieces, nephews, cousins, countless friends and acquaintances, and his close friend and confidant Denise Jette.
Philip Grew up on the family dairy farm in Malmo, MN and attended grades 1-4 at Lakeside School, a 1 room school house. He graduated from Isle Highschool in 1962 where he was captain of both the basketball and football teams (honorable mention for all-state in both); best actor within school plays and won national honorable mention for annual sports section design.
Following graduation Philip enlisted in the US Navy; he served 5 years onboard the USS Proteus, with time in Holy Lock, Scotland, Rota, Spain, and Guam. He recently received recognition for his status a Vietnam war vet. Phil’s Naval career brought him to Aquidneck Island where he easily found work at various government contracting companies; he retired as small business owner, and private contractor to the federal government, less than a year prior to his passing.
A 40-year member of Wanumetonomy Golf & Country Club, and avid golfer, Phil traveled throughout the US for work and pleasure. During his travels, he never missed an opportunity to play a round of his favorite sport at the nearest club; especially locals featuring world renowned courses. Philip also enjoyed nature hikes, gardening, puzzles, and was a lifelong Minnesota Vikings and Twins fan; but anyone that truly knew him knows his favorite pastime was making people laugh. He was a kind, and generous man, with a sense of humor that was incomparable, and a laugh that was contagious. His children reminisce often about running into casual acquaintances who would go out of their way to tell them what a great guy he is. Honest and loyal, Philip was a true example of how ‘they just don’t make them like they used to’. If you were endeared to him, you knew you had a force to be reckoned with in your corner. His family and friends will miss seeing him twisting on his signature toothpick as he entertained with one of his many hysterical stories or jokes. Most of all they will miss the twinkle in his eye, his bold infectious laugh, and the unwavering support and love that he gave generously and unconditionally.
Calling hours will be held Tuesday, November 14, 2017, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Connors Funeral Home, 55 West Main Rd, Route 114, Portsmouth, RI and Friday evening, November 17, 2017, at Mille Lacs Lake Funeral Home, 460 Main Street, Isle, MN. A burial will be held Saturday, November 18, 2017, at Lakeside Cemetery, 40th Avenue, Isle, MN. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Disabled American Veterans https://www.dav.org.