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Phil Pilgrim, Rest in Peace (January 13, 2023, age 73) — Parallax Forums

Phil Pilgrim, Rest in Peace (January 13, 2023, age 73)

Ken GraceyKen Gracey Posts: 7,386
edited 2023-01-17 21:01 in General Discussion

Dear Parallax community,

With sadness in my heart, I'm letting you know that Phil Pilgrim suddenly passed away last Friday. His best friend Ole gave me a ring on Monday. To give you an idea of his contribution to this community, he had 23,514 posts and was last active on 1-13-2023 at 17:05. I don't know what timezone our forums use, but this could've been very well near one of his last efforts since his computer was close by with e-mail being open at the time.

Phil was a very generous person and worked with us closely for 25 years. He volunteered to teach programming, robotics, and project-based learning at Port Townsend High School and worked in the local theatre program. I visited Phil with my family about 15 years ago and we were impressed with his generosity, simplicity of life, and really messy shop. Many of our community knew him well and the team at Parallax worked with him on different projects (S3 Robot, ColorPal, TCS230 Color Sensor) and he participated in our Expo events. Working with Phil and making a business arrangement was so easy and almost all of his efforts were shared publicly.

Most recently, Phil made a CO2 sensor with a data collection system. I have one of these in my office. Prior to that (and documented on these forums), he was wrestling a mommy raccoon (and family) out of his basement and even used one of our robots to survey the situation. Somebody can find that link and post it here.

Phil drove a really old (mid 70s?) brown Mercedes diesel that he kept nursing along even though it belched black pollution. He lived in a small home on a hill in Port Townsend, Washington with a shop next to it (and a really low ceiling where he could hit his head at 6'4" height). He had a rickety picnic bench outside and deer would come by to visit. For many years, he had a special cat named Browser. Browser may have been the only cat who was tamed to do tricks and then eat shrimp, and knew how to navigate a special wooden ramp built for him to get to the window sill when his hips started to fail. Browser had a super caregiver in Phil.

Personally, I had one of my longest calls with him just a few weeks ago where he was checking in on my well-being after my own difficult year involving a significant loss. Phil was a very understanding, sensible, and compassionate person who gave so much of himself for others.

Thank you to all of you who made his intellectual work productive for him. This discussion forum was a valuable part of his professional and personal existence, according to his buddy Ole.

Phil never talked about himself and I couldn't easily pry a picture from him, but after some pressure I got him to write this for Parallax a few months ago:

Rest in Peace, Phil! We miss you and valued your contribution more than we ever told you. In his honor, we can share what we do with others who are also interested.


Ken Gracey
Parallax Inc.



  • Oh wow. Just… wow. He was always a gentleman to me, especially in my newbie days.

    This hurts. He was a good man in a storm, and a mentor to many.

  • Oh dear, that is terrible news. Phil was always so helpful here on the forums, and a great contributor in so many, many ways. He'll be sorely missed.

  • This is really sad. Phil has helped me many times. I've spent many hours studying Phil's Propeller code. I've also learned a lot from studying his circuit boards. He was always very generous with his time.

    I've been away from the forum for a few months myself. While this is really sad news, I'm glad I didn't miss it.

  • ercoerco Posts: 20,255

    OMG I am devastated to hear this news. Phil was an amazing person, mentor, and role model. He knew a little about everything and a lot about most things that matter in this forum. He always had helpful, encouraging words to say, even to me with my crazy ideas and experiments.

    I will need some time to process this, as many forumistas will. What a gentleman and scholar. PhiPi will be sorely missed.

    God bless Phil and his family & friends.

  • cgraceycgracey Posts: 14,133
    edited 2023-01-18 06:01

    Yeah, Phil was a great guy. I was sad to hear he passed away so suddenly. He always had sage advice for all of us here. I will miss him. We may never know when our time is up. There is a down counter somewhere running in the GHz that is approaching zero for each of us.

  • Safe travels and peace, my friend I never met in person.

  • Yes I would agree with you that he was very helpful and I even think that he had help with with at least one project I was doing I always enjoyed reading his post _

  • Dammit. This really is sad news. It's like losing a family member :'(

    And there's that stupid elephant in the room that will continue to be ignored 🤐🤬


  • Very saddened by this news. Phil was a great asset to this community and will be missed. He helped me so many times. Thank you Ken for such a nice tribute.
    Rest In Peace Phil.


  • Phil was an inspiration and sound board for many ideas both his and mine that we posted on the forum.
    It was because of Phil that I started the "Golf Challenges" which was a way for anyone to explore their intellect and show the many ways to accomplish the challenge at hand. The exercise was meant to force you to think outside of the box and not settle on a specific solution of the notion "Since it's printed, that's the ONLY way to do it, mentality" .

    Rest in peace my friend. Until we meet again on another wavelength. You will be missed

    One of those many links packed in theory and design from Phil, I'm gonna leave here ...

    BTW) I think Phil had many more posts than that, Since After the "Forum Migration" several years ago, I myself lost several thousand posts.

  • So sad... Phil was one of my "most favored" posters when I started looking into the Parallax Propeller, and continued to be a huge source of insight & learning for me.


  • Very sad indeed.

    Speaking of post counts, do we have a rank list somewhere? I don't think I've seen anyone have more than 23k. We can't measure signal/noise of posts, but that's probably up there, too.

  • This is really a sad news.
    We lost a mentor.

    Some gems he made, explain and come up to me
    * Bell 202 Modem
    * Propeller Backpack, soft and pcb
    * Walsh functions


  • Indeed. Phil was always helpful, and always fun to exchange ideas with. God bless him and his family.

  • I am sorry to hear this.
    Phil was an integral part of this forum as long as I can remember, and an inspiration to others.
    Rest in peace.

  • PhiPi one of the coolest nicknames in the forum, a well informed contributor who will be sorely missed and though I never knew him I was truly shocked then saddened when I read the title of this thread. Rest in peace @PhiPi.

  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 18,069

    I am so sad to hear this news.
    Phil posted lots of projects here over the many years. His ability to simply describe how they worked was amazing.
    One of the coolest for me was Phil using the P1 to perform DSP (digital signal processing) in software.
    You will be missed my friend. Rest in Peace.

  • I paid attention to PhiPi’s comments even on threads that didn’t otherwise much interest me. I will miss him.

  • Oh man, this is so sad to hear. Phil was a great contributor to these forums, you could really tell he was a sharp man.

  • RossHRossH Posts: 5,381

    Ah, very sad. Phil was an ornament to these forums.

  • mparkmpark Posts: 1,305

    Oh man, this hurts. A huge loss to all of us.

  • Very sad. He was a gentleman and a fountain of knowledge. I am always in awe of those like him who contribute so much and share their knowledge with others. He will truly be missed.

  • Oh my! Phipi, we will miss you. I will miss you. I'm 74; you make me take a deep breath

    I met him virtually on the old BASIC Stamp forums, but it was in 2006 that I first met him in person at Parallax for the kick-off of the Propeller 1. I had the pleasure of sitting next to him as he queried everyone within earshot about video, how it worked, how to implement it on the propeller, questions where his sharp intellect shined through. And so helpful and friendly himself. A simpatico teacher, one-man advanced projects agency, as manifested so many times on this forum through the years. A forumista par excellence. Even up to his volunteer mythic lighting for the Port Townsend high school production of Mid-summer Nights Dream that came into fruition in front of our eyes merely weeks ago . Phil, rest in peace, winter dreams.

  • Rest in Peace Phipi, loved especially the radio experiments he did on the P1.

  • frank freedmanfrank freedman Posts: 1,978
    edited 2023-01-21 19:16
  • Rest in peace Phil. Phil had an amazing way of explaining things. He inspired me to use the P1 and SPIN. Thanks for everything Phil.

  • Surprised and speechless. Rest in peace Phil.

  • So sorry to hear this. He was engaged with the local school right up until the end.

  • I have been away from the forum for a long time and just logged in today to catch up. It was shocking to hear about Phil. He was one of my favorites to learn from. Also, being into ham radio I always enjoyed his radio-related ideas and projects. Thanks! Phil. He will be missed by everyone. May he RIP.

  • While I have had but one recent interaction with Phil, I am positive many of his postings addressed mine and others needs. We can only hope that we will be eulogized by so many as he has been here. RIP

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