Phillip James Augustine was born the third of eight children to Joseph and Jennie Augustine in Streator, Illinois on April 21, 1937.
Phil’s parents were both children of Italian immigrant families from Sicily.
His childhood and early adult years were spent in the sleepy railway town of Chillicothe, Illinois where he excelled at sports and developed his life long traits of seeking out a challenge and pushing the boundaries in everything he did. In January 1960 Phil succumbed to the lure of the Canadian frontier and arrived in Horsefly at the age of 22 to carve out a life in the wilderness.
With the help of his friend Skip LaDue, he built a cabin on 80 acres purchased at Rat Dam Lake. From this humble beginning, Phil built the ranch that would remain his lifelong home. In 1963, Phil married Babs and became Dad to Craig and Cori. Two sons, Joe and Matt, were born to complete the family. As the ranch grew, so did Phil’s ability to meet every new challenge. He became a cat skinner and logger to develop more land; he became a mechanic so he could fix the increasing amount of machinery required; he learned to perform cesareans on the heifers and preg test the cows; and he contracted out with his machines to supplement the ranch income.
In 1983 Babs moved into Horsefly and Phil continued to run the ranch. Eventually, the need for a new challenge took him south to Texas. In the late 90’s, Phil and partner Judy Gray spent several winters in Texas where they developed a small ranch and pursued their interest in registered quarter horses. Always one to do things in a big way, Phil brought back a couple of studs and continued to raise horses at home in Horsefly.
Over the years, Phil became a good friend to a great number of people and a confidant to many seeking his business advice and help. He avoided attention and recognition, but chose instead, if he could, to quietly look after things behind the scenes.
He never forgot a face and always made time to renew acquaintances and enquire about your life, making each person feel special.
Phil was a devoted father and grandfather and spent his life trying to make the world a better place for his family.
One of his few distractions from work was to fish or hunt with his kids and grandkids.
He also enjoyed the odd poker game ‘for fun’.
Phil passed away on December 9, 2007. He leaves to mourn his passing, wife Judy; sons Craig (Cindy), Joe (Julie Vincent), Matt (Sara); daughter Cori (Chris Leggett); grandchildren Leah, Shaun (Jacci), Casey, Ryan (Jessica), Ashley, Rileigh, Reid, Alexa, Joey, Cody and Angela; sisters Louise, Nicky, Janet, MaryJo, Bernadette; and brother Jim. He was predeceased by his parents and brother Jerome.
Phil’s family would like to express their gratitude for the overwhelming outpouring of support and love shown by so many during this very sad and difficult time.