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Fundraising provides headstone for Parksville’s ‘Flying Phil’ St. Luke

Community can vote on memorial options via online poll until July 1
A grave marker for ‘Flying Phil’ St. Luke has been put in place at Anglican Parish of St. Anne and St. Edmund cemetery. From left: Jennah Stavroff, Doug Giebelhaus and Rev. Kirsten Evenden. (Photo courtesy Jennah Stavroff)

The final resting place of Parksville’s “Flying Phil” St. Luke is now marked with a headstone.

The Flying Phil Memorial Project released a cheque on May 8 for just more than $1,000 to purchase the stone, according to a news release.

The money came from community donations meant to go towards a memorial project for the well-known St. Luke, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 71.

“It came to our attention that Phil’s grave is an unmarked grave,” said Coun. Adam Fras during council’s May 6 meeting. “Now anyone going to visit it will be able to locate it.”

Fras was the chair and one of three councillors that sat on the Phil St Luke Standing Committee, which wrapped up its final meeting earlier this year, as the fundraising project is now a community effort.

When St. Luke died, the Anglican Parish of St. Anne and St. Edmund in Parksville donated both cemetery space and a private memorial service, according to the release. However a year later the church realized no one had provided a grave marker when a family member went to find and visit the spot but couldn’t find any headstone.

Although fundraising for a memorial project will continue until July 1, the duo managing the volunteer project, Jennah Stavroff and Doug Giebelhaus, decided money should be spent now after they were approached by the church which owns the cemetery where Phil’s ashes were interred.

St. Luke had a developmental age of approximately 10 years and had been supervised and cared for by government agencies for most of his life, according to the release.

He was known for an enthusiastic demeanour, volunteering thousands of hours to local charities and organizations, being a medal-winning Special Olympian, an advocate for the fair treatment of animals and persons with disabilities and leading the annual Parksville Canada Day Parade.

READ MORE: ‘Flying Phil’ memorial project team in Parksville unveils 4 new options

“Government funding for adults in care only covers basic cremation services leaving a void where many go unrecognized after death,” the release said. “The church graciously dug into its own limited funds and ordered a marker with the hopes they might find an individual or organization to support the purchase. Recent news stories asking for input on a memorial for St. Luke made the church aware of the current initiative and they reached out to be considered for some partial reimbursement.”

Stavroff said it was an easy decision to reimburse the church fully as it was simply the right thing to do.

“Phil has loving distant relatives and he had numerous caring government-paid caregivers but really it is the Oceanside community who were in some ways his long-term everyday ‘family’ and we believe those who donated would absolutely support the church who ensured Phil had the basic dignity of a grave marker,” Stavroff said. “Doug and I are just incredibly thankful to the staff at St. Anne’s and St. Edmund’s that they filled the void and stepped up for Phil and all of us by purchasing one not knowing how it might get paid for.”

Stavroff said they are continuing fundraising efforts as planned for a community project such as a commemorative mural, bench, or art piece.

Fundraising will end on July 1, 2024 after Phil’s drum is taken in one last Canada Day Parade. Any surplus funds will be donated to local charities.

Donations can be transferred directly into a secure trust account via or in person at the Parksville Credit Union.

A poll to help choose a memorial project is active online at

— NEWS Staff