Philip Delos LaFleur, age 88, passed away in Orem, Utah, on the morning of Tuesday, July 19, 2022, after a month's-long battle with lung disease. He was in his home and surrounded by loved ones at the time of his passing.
He was the only child born to Arthur Joseph LaFleur and Effie Bybee, on January 6, 1934, in Anaconda, Montana, and was married to his college sweetheart Helen Irene Kendrick in 1955. Family was his highest priority, which is why he became a beloved patriarch to an extended family of 4 children, 16 grandchildren, and 21 great-grandchildren, who are now living their best lives in 5 US states: New York, Michigan, Arkansas, Washington, and Utah. He was preceded in death by his only daughter Julie, and his hope of being reunited with her was able to take some of the sting out of the grim prognosis he received earlier this year. He was survived by his sweetheart Helen, 3 sons (Benjamin [wife Shari], Alan [wife Julie], and Kendrick [wife Joanne]), and all 37 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Philip was an intelligent and hard-working man. His first job was setting pins in a bowling alley at age 10. At age 12 he became a welder's apprentice. When he turned 15 he was awarded his Master Welders card and became a full-fledged welder. He continued to go to school and worked in the welding shop afterward and during the summer. He attended Idaho State University where he met Helen. After earning a BS in Chemistry from Idaho State University in 1955, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army, and he and Helen moved to Massachusetts to language school at Fort Devans. After completing language school he was assigned to a US Army Military base in Kenai, Alaska. After completing his active service there, he moved his family to Idaho. There he worked at the AEC ARCO plant and helped clean the reactor there after the radiation spill. While he was working Phil earned his MS degree in Chemistry from the University of Idaho in 1962, He moved his family to Michigan to attend the University in Ann Arbor. Phil earned his Ph.D. in Nuclear Chemistry at the University of Michigan in 1968. He started his career as an Analytical Chemist that year at the National Bureau of Standards in Washington DC, where he was awarded, on 2 separate occasions, the United States Department of Commerce Silver (1972) and Gold (1979) Medal Awards for his work. Phil became one of the 12 directors of the National Bureau of Standards over the Chemical Division. He left public service in 1979, when he joined Kodak as a Department Head in Analytical Chemistry, and moved his family to Rochester, New York, until his retirement in 1995. In retirement, he spent a few semesters teaching chemistry to undergraduate students at Brigham Young University, although he spent most of his next several decades of life caring for his father, wife, children, and grandchildren. That example of devoted fatherhood left an indelible mark in the hearts of his children, who have not failed to live up to that example.
Philip was a man of God. He was born a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and after his wife joined the church, they were sealed together in the Idaho Falls Temple in 1964. He served his church in many leadership capacities, including in the Young Men's program, the Elders Quorum, as a Branch President of the Rochester New York Inner City Branch, a Bishop, and as a Counselor in the Rochester New York Stake Presidency. He and Helen served a temple mission in Manhattan, New York, from 2007-2009. Since then, he has spent years serving as a dedicated Ordinance Worker in the Toronto, Mount Timpanogos, Provo, and Manhattan temples. His favorite part of that service was when he would be called upon to officiate in one of the several languages that he had studied throughout his life. Philip especially enjoyed learning American Sign Language and attended Gallaudet College with Helen to learn to interpret when a deaf family moved into the ward.
Philip enjoyed many hobbies. He was a lifelong learner and a voracious reader. His favorite genre was history, especially military histories and biographies, but he also enjoyed reading books about science, mathematics, and faith. At the time of his passing, his office was cluttered with several books that he had been studying, still opened to whatever pages he had been working on. Philip enjoyed traveling with his sweetheart Helen. He also enjoyed sports, especially Michigan football and golf. Ben has fond memories of attending sporting events with his father, and Kendrick treasures his own memories of playing one-on-one basketball with his father in their driveway. Philip also loved to see his gifted son Alan perform as an actor, dancer, and choreographer; and he admired his daughter's skill as a seamstress, artist, and handicrafter, cherishing the many gifts she had made for him over the years. He especially enjoyed watching Julie be creative in making intricate cookies with imaginative designs.
A viewing for family and friends will be held from 9:30 -10:30 am on Friday, July 29, 2022, at the Lakeview 6th Ward Chapel at 2168 South 140 West in Orem, Utah. The funeral will follow at 11:00 am. Interment will be in the Orem Cemetery.
Condolences for the family may be expressed on this page.