PHIL PHARES, 101 of Grant, formerly of Palisade, passed away Sunday, January 22, 2017 at the Golden Ours Convalescent Home in Grant.
Phil was born June 16, 1915 in Hayes County, NE to Rueben L. and Anna D. (Romersheuser) Phares. He attended rural school east of Palisade, before graduating from Palisade High School in 1933.
On June 18, 1942, Phil married Rita Marie McKillip at the St. Ann Catholic Church in Frontier County, NE. The couple made their home on the Phares family farm east of Palisade and their union was blessed with 4 children. Phil and Rita remained on the farm until 2003, when they moved to Ogallala to be closer to family.
Phil was a great athlete in his younger years, and excelled in both baseball and basketball. As a young man Phil excelled as a pitcher; he was honored to throw out his last pitch at the age of 101, at the beginning of a little league baseball game at Grant. He enjoyed keeping large gardens, and proved to have a green thumb. Phil had a penchant for growing watermelon and cantaloupe, the bigger the better. He also had a notable talent for fabricating things. From swings, merri-go-rounds and teeter totters to wind chargers and custom farm implements, Phil was masterful at turning conceptual thought into reality. His whimsical toy, the "ball machine" was a favorite with children in the local school and surrounding area when he would invite them out to play with his fun creations. Whenever Palisade Pioneer Days came around, Phil always had an invention to contribute to the festivities. Iron was his building material of choice, and much of what he made is still in use.
Phil was preceded in death by his wife, Rita in 2010; 3 brothers, Harley, Albert, and Richard; and a granddaughter, Mary Premer.
Survivors include his 2 daughters, Carol (Lou) Kraus of Brule, Barbara (Larry) Malicky of Columbus; 2 sons, Richard (Melanie) Phares of Hygiene, CO, Alan Phares of Columbus; 7 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; along with many other relatives and friends.
Memorials are suggested to the Palisade Community Foundation or the Holy Family Catholic Church in Phil's memory. Condolences may be shared at prairiehillsfuneralhome.com, where the service will be streamed live for those unable to attend.
Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 10:30am at St. Luke's Catholic Church in Ogallala, NE with Father Bryan Ernest as Celebrant. Rosary will be prior to service time at 10am at the church. Interment of cremains will be after the service on Saturday at 3pm (CT) in the Palisade Cemetery.
Prairie Hills Funeral Home of Ogallala, NE is in charge of arrangements.