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Robert John Phillips

Robert John Phillips the 5th, was born in Saint John New Brunswick on August 15, 1958.  He passed away unexpectedly in Melaque, Mexico on February 9, 2012.  John grew up in New Brunswick and graduated in 1976 from Simonds High School.  At Johnny’s first job he worked as a milk man from 1977 – 78. Then John relocated to Calgary, Alberta.  He  spent the next few years getting his pipe fitters ticket and graduated at the top of his class.  He met his Maureen in 1982 and they then moved to Surrey British Columbia where they worked.  John started John Phillips Mechanical, and later Protection Sprinklers with Tim McLellan in Surrey, where they lived until 1996.  They moved to Ymir and purchased The Ymir Hotel with good friends and ran that until they sold it in 2005.  Many, many good times and lot’s of laughs in those 9 years.  There is still evidence of Johnny’s burn outs in the Hotel.  At the same time John established  Kootenay Sprinkler Installations. Johns’ professionalism  was reflected in his work.  He was highly respected in the industry and very much loved by all his employees.     

John is survived by his wife Maureen, son Jason (Heidi), Grandsons Riley John and Blake. Mother Carol, Brothers Al (Mim), Doug, Steve (Diane). Sisters Lorraine and Margaret.  Uncle Gary (Sue), Aunt Bunny, Aunt Dodie and all his many, many aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.  He is predeceased by his father Robert Phillips, Grandparents Robert and Margarette Phillips, and Theodore and Margorie Jones. John’s family was very important to him, and he was devoted to each and everyone  of them. Being from a large family, John alway said you had to be quick to the dinner table in the Phillips household.

There will be a viewing Friday afternoon from 4:00 – 5:30 pm at Thompsons Funeral Home in Nelson on Ward Street. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 18 at 1:00 pm in the Ymir Community Hall in Ymir.  Bring your Johnny photos and stories. John was a very charitable man and he took every opportunity to help others. Donations to Habitat for Humanity can be made at the hall on Saturday, or on their website at or their Nelson office at 609 – 622 Front Street in lieu of flowers.

John was a generous man to say the least.  Nothing was too much, whatever people needed, he found a way.  Whether it be tipping, lending, buying or just supporting friends and family he could ALWAYS be counted on.  He was quick with a story or a joke, always with a big laugh or a grin.

His grandchildren got the full benefit of a perfect “Pa Pa”  He made sure they had all the opportunities possible, Hockey, swimming, music, whatever they wanted.  Teaching Riley John to ride his bike was quite an event, after convincing him that it would be much more fun than the Scooter. After 10 minutes of running behind him, John had him riding and loving it. Riley John was so proud of his accomplishment and PaPa John had a grin from ear to ear.  Blakes’ big adventure at the lake with PaPa was teaching him how to drive the “speedy” boat and learning the “sandwich” song.   John and Mo also built the boys an elaborate play fort  for the yard where they spend countless hours playing.  Those two little boys were the apple of his eye.

Johnny was also known as “Johnny Kristofferson” because of the numerous times he would entertain us with his rendition of Kris’s songs… his favourite musical artist.

John bought his first motorcycle in 1980 – a brand new Harley Davidson Shovelhead which earned the nickname “the great punkin” because of it’s colour. Their love of motorcycling took them to  places where they met many, many people, most of whom became long time dear friends. Anyone that rode with Our Johnny  could count on him to find any hidden backroad pub.  John loved an adventure and many friends were lucky enough to be along for the ride with John and Mo on many of these for 30 years. Johnny taught Mo to ride, and in their many years they put on countless miles together.  Each trip was an adventure, and in their lives together, they enjoyed each day and laughed more than we can all hope.  Anywhere they stopped, John would INSIST that Mo get up and sing.  He always loved to hear her sing.  And he would always tell people “you’ve got to hear my Maureen”

John was a FAST, HARD Riding Guy – putting on lots of miles, he loved to ride to different places, and meet new people. Trips to Daytona Beach to hook up with the crew there, seeing the guys from New York, Louisiana, Texas and Florida was important to John.  Annual trips to Kim and Deb’s to hook up with all the Albertans, and any Fast Truck or Ugly’s rally to make those reconnections where ever possible was a priority to John.

The southern trips introduced the Canadians to Deep Fried Turkey’s. This brought the deep fried turkey recipe all the way from Louisiana to Western Canada. Of all the places he visited, including Mo’s family in Saskatchewan he never developed a taste for Perogies, he called them, “Gooey Little Dough Balls”.

As well as motorcycling, Johnny and Mo enjoyed exotic locations , traveling by cruise ships, planes, airboats, catamaran, and even parasailing.  From rolling the dice in Vegas to snowmobiling to tops of mountains they did it all. Sailing with Gary and Maria was always a highlight for John and he looked forward to their next sail together

John introduced a lot of people to Smokin Hot Chicken Wings! Every payday, John would invite all his crew over for Wings and Beer so he didn’t have to go to all the job sites to pay everybody.  On every Chicken Wing Payday… everyone showed up for work! John and Grant drank more dark beer and cooked more deep fried turkeys than any of us know, and “Thats a Fact!”

Johnny was also famous for his Jo Jo’s.  Every Fast truck party had a line up for Johnny’s Jo Jo’s, Wings, and his  exuberant  personality.  In the early years he would pull up with a Coleman Stove tied on the back of his bike with a pot, oil and chicken wings.  He would setup shop and feed everyone, and from there it just expanded to what we know now.

He embraced Ymir winter living, learning to skate – or to Stop – as he put it, and also learned to snowmobile.  He enjoyed sledding up to the Paddy Shack with Eric where they often raced to the top to share a beer, a stogie and a laugh. Overnight sledding trips with George was also an adventure for the two of them.

Johnny was a man of character….and a character of a man. Some of Johnny’s famous words…”I’d shut right up, if someone would bring me a beer”, and “you worries too much b’y”, “I’ll have one if Frank has one”, “Ieeeeee”, “How you doing kiddo”,  “go on git.”

If the true wealth of a man is his friendships then Johnny was very wealthy man.  From Vancouver Island to Newfoundland, Washington State to the tip of Florida, John was a very rich man indeed. John was most the caring, generous, and non- judgemental man.  He is a tremendous loss to us all and will be very sadly missed forever.

Online condolences may be expressed at

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Thompson Funeral Service Ltd.


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