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Parksville icon ‘Flyin’ Phil’ St. Luke dies

St. Luke a friendly community ambassador for decades
Phil St. Luke, aka Parksville’s ‘Flyin’ Phil’ has died. (Peter McCully photo)

Parksville is grieving the loss of icon ‘Flyin’ Phil’ St. Luke.

Tributes to St. Luke are pouring in on social media.

He was well-known as a friendly, ardent walker around the community, where he would wave to everybody he passed, along with a thumbs up and a smile.

Parksville Mayor Doug O’Brien said the City of Parksville flag has been lowered to half-mast to reflect the memory of a larger-than-life individual.

“He always had that huge smile on his face,” O’Brien said. “His biggest thrill, of course, was commercial trucks would drive through the city and he would give them a big wave and they’d recognize him and lean on their air horn.”

Memories of St. Luke span generations. Lissa Alexander grew up in Parksville, where her parents knew St. Luke.

“Every time we’d drive by and see him on the side of the road, we’d honk and wave at him,” she said. “And he’d always smile and wave back.”

Once Alexander started driving, she was sure to honk and wave whenever she passed him.

“That’s something we’ve continued with my kids,” Alexander said. “And they got to talk to him over the years because we’d see him around town.”

READ MORE: Parksville’s beloved ‘Flying’ Phil St. Luke is turning 70

O’Brien recalled St. Luke leading Parksville’s Canada Day Parade for many years, playing his drum with a big smile on his face. He’ll be sorely missed at the parades going forward, O’Brien added.

As a big sports fan, St. Luke curled and played softball in the community park — O’Brien was his Special Olympics softball coach for a time. Whenever St. Luke got a hold of the bat, the team would kid him that if he hit a ball off the roof of the Dairy Queen on Highway 19A, everybody would get ice cream.

“I can tell you Phil tried for that Dairy Queen, he came awfully close a couple times,” O’Brien said, adding St. Luke was kind, generous and a great team player.

He was a regular visitor to the old PQB News office on Middleton Avenue when Alexander worked there as a reporter.

“We’d all be sitting in the office and we’d hear whistling down the street,” she said. “And we’d all kind of look at each other and go, ‘here comes Phil!’”

St. Luke would come in to visit with everyone in the different departments.

Alexander now works for Society of Organized Services (SOS) in Parksville. St. Luke volunteered with SOS for 20 years and also made a point of visiting the thrift shop and administration office.

“He just made everyone’s day, every time you saw him,” Alexander said.

St. Luke volunteered for many local causes such as the Salvation Army, the SPCA, the Downtown Cleaning Crew and food drives for the fire department.

St. Luke’s family said on social media they hope to hold a celebration of life at date to be announced.

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Phil St. Luke, aka Parksville’s ‘Flyin’ Phil’ has died. (Peter McCully photo)

Kevin Forsyth

About the Author: Kevin Forsyth

As a lifelong learner, I enjoy experiencing new cultures and traveled around the world before making Vancouver Island my home.
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