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Phil Gates | Passages

Phil Gates found freedom and connection with the infinite on Jan. 28, 2010 at the age of 90.

Born in 1919 in Denver, Colo., to Herman and Nelle Gates. He is survived by his sister Phyllis Fenger of Carpinteria, Calif., and her daughter Ellen Fenger of Santa Barbara, Calif.; son Scott Gates of Friday Harbor, Wash.; daughter Lisa Gates, her husband Charlie Waldron, and their son Cole Waldron, of Santa Barbara, Calif.; and daughter Julie Gates of Marin, Calif.

His ex-wife, Vivian Gates, preceded him in death in 2000.

Phil attended Colorado University Law School, joined the Merchant Marine and, while waiting to be assigned to active duty in the Army during WWII, he studied Japanese. Due to his educational pursuits, his penchant for language, and his expertise as a skier, Phil became a paratrooper assigned to the 82nd Airborne.

Disillusioned by his experience in the war, he broke from all convention and began his life as a seeker of truth. Driven to know how the universe works, Phil studied law, metaphysics, spirituality, physics, and alchemy.

Always open-minded and adventurous, Phil valued imagination and creativity above all else. He wrote books, built a house, flew ultralight planes, sailed boats and skied mountains. He traveled widely — including Europe, New Zealand, Mexico, Costa Rica — setting down loose roots in towns along the entire West Coast, from Laguna Beach, Calif., to Duncan, B.C.

He loved to push boundaries and would break any box the world tried to put him in. Whether it was researching and adopting cutting-edge health and nutritional practices, or twisting and punning with language, or listening to cross-genre music that defied classification, he was a non-conformist to the bone.

Enjoying a simple, minimalist, bohemian lifestyle (read “one-pot cooking”), Phil completed his second book, “The Philosopher and the Frog” — a historical fiction and philosophical distillation of his lifelong pursuits — at age 88.

With declining kidney function and heart arrhythmia, Phil’s curiosity and interest in life kept him alive against great odds in the last year of his life. Especially when in pain or feeling physically limited, he engaged in the beauty all around him, indulged family, friends and neighbors in spirited and generous conversation, and stayed rigorously committed to his truth. Walking his talk more than ever, he died aligned with the spiritual essence of life. A great soul — he always endeavored to hold his focus on something greater than himself.

We trust he is having some good hearty laughs with old friends and wiseguys at the Great Rendezvous ...

— Family of Phil Gates

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