Phillip Michael Pope, 72, of Lakeland, FL passed away at home on Thursday, March 16, 2023 after a brave two-year battle with acute myeloid leukemia. Phillip is survived and missed by his loving wife of 41 years Barbara-Jean (Dwyer) Pope. He is survived by his two sons: Brian James Pope of Rogers, AR and son Kevin Michael Pope and his wife Katherine (Orr) Pope of Atlanta, GA; and grandchildren, Mary, Charles and Callahan Pope, of Atlanta, GA.
Phillip was born in Hartford, CT and grew up in West Simsbury, CT. He was the son of the late George R. and Jean D. (Broda) Pope. Phillip was a multi-sport athlete and still holds several Connecticut state high school football records. After high school he went on to be an All-American football player at Middlebury College, Class of 1972. His senior year he was named New England Football Player of the Year and was ranked 3rd in the nation in scoring, leading Middlebury to an undefeated and untied season. Professionally, he was a geologist working for many years throughout New England, Florida and the Bahamas on a variety of projects, most notably the “Big Dig” in Boston.
He will be remembered for his dedication to his family: his travel adventures with his wife, spending time at the beach, surfing and playing bocce, his love for the family’s dogs, and as a coach and avid supporter of his sons’ athletic careers. Phillip loved all things fly fishing and taught fly tying classes for over a decade at Andy Thornal in Winter Haven, FL. Phillip also enjoyed home improvement projects and making wooden furniture and toys for his grandchildren. His enthusiasm for sports, fishing, coaching and teaching never waned.
A celebration of life will be held on Friday, April 7th at 1 pm at the family residence in Lakeland, FL. Family and friends are invited to attend. In lieu of flowers a random act of kindness is requested.
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