Philip Maurice Toynbee
February 25, 1924-January 17, 2017
Philip Maurice Toynbee passed peacefully in Nanaimo hospital on Tuesday afternoon, January 17th, 2017. He was born in Port Angeles, Washington on February 25th, 1924, the third child of British immigrants Dina Maria (Herderschee) and Lionel Claude Joseph Toynbee, a lay preacher, and grew up in coastal communities from Lasqueti Island to Hopkins Landing, Port Kells to Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver.
Phil’s seafaring career began in May 1939 when he left school to go decking on a troller. When the war started, his older brother John joined the army. Phil and his younger brother Arnold, who was one year younger and his best friend, were too young to join up. Their father had been a merchant seaman before World War I, so Phil and Arn signed on with the Merchant Navy, and travelled the world keeping the Allied countries supplied. Phil celebrated his 21st birthday in Lagos, Nigeria. In 1945, he received his Home Trade Mate certification in Vancouver.
During the war, Phil corresponded with his family, and his longtime girlfriend Catherine, who was a secretary. He had met Catherine St Clair Begbie at church, and she became his wife on June 25, 1947 in Vancouver.
After the war, Phil learned the coast from Capt. R.W. McNeill while serving on the B.C. Standard, a tanker. Capt. McNeill encouraged him to make B.C. Coast Pilot his career goal. For twenty years, Phil worked as a master on coastal tugboats, while his brother Arnold worked on tankers. They studied for the pilots’ exams together, and both qualified in June 1970. Phil said in his memoir, “This began the best twenty years of my working career, with the B.C. Coast Pilots, the finest group of professionals on the B.C. Coast.”
After retiring in 1990, Phil and Catherine moved from Vancouver to Parksville on Vancouver Island, while Arnold and his wife Ann moved to French Creek. The brothers kept binoculars by their easy chairs, and enjoyed tracking the coastal shipping from their living room windows. Phil and Catherine made many treasured friends on the Island. They joined the Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church and the Lighthouse Ministry. Phil was also active with the Canadian Merchant Navy Veterans’ Association, the Gideons and the Company of Master Mariners.
Phil was predeceased by his wife Catherine, his brothers John and Arnold, sisters Beth and Joyce, and niece Dina. He is survived by his four children, Claire, Andréa (Ron), Patricia and Peter, granddaughters Althea, Evangeline and Jacqueline, and many friends.
The family would like to give special thanks to Phil’s caregiver Jenny Anderson, to Mauricio and Allan at Eagle Park, to Pastor Paul Hawkes for his visits and spiritual comfort, and to the physicians and healthcare staff at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital who treated Phil so well and gave him the chance to talk with friends and family in his last few days.
Services were held at the Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church. Philip was laid to rest in the Field of Honour at Yates Memorial Cemetery,
1000 Allsbrook Road in Parksville.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the SPCA on behalf of Phil’s beloved dog Rocky. SPCA Box 1407, Parksville, BC V9P 2H3.
To send a condolence to the family please visit www.yatesmemorial.ca
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