For the first time in nearly 91 years, the sun arose to a world where our dad, grandpa, great grandpa, brother, uncle, and friend – Philip F. Gee – was no longer physically with us. Mom reached down, took his hand and he left us to join her, our sister Becky, and the many family members who have been waiting for his return home.
Philip F. Gee is the eldest child born to Vernal Frank and Leah Larsen Gee on July 3, 1929 in the small southern Utah town of Fayette. He was the older brother to Kenneth, Carol Mae, and Baby Gee.
Growing up he spent much of his early years working farmland with his dad. As young as five, they would get up early, ride a horse and wagon for over an hour to work, work all day and then another hour back home. From this he learned the value of a strong work ethic and hard physical and mental labor. He felt that inspiring trust with others and the integrity of your reputation was the most important quality a person could have. His handshake was his bond and word.
We honor his service to our country from 1950 to 1952 in the Korean Conflict. However, it is not a time he would speak of often. He would tell us about leaving the U.S. on a boat bound for Korea. He watched as the city lights of Seattle would fade away in the horizon and he wondered if he would ever see home again. It took over two weeks to get there where he along with others experienced extreme sea sickness. He spoke of the cold, damp, rainy weather where his feet could never get warm or dry. The food served in the trays would float from the rainwater as they would try to eat. He learned to hate sweet potatoes!
Before leaving for military service, he met his lifetime partner and wife – Shannon McDonald. Upon his return, they eloped, driving to Elko, Nevada on December 20, 1952 where they were married by the Justice of the Peace, beginning their lives together.
Upon returning from the military, he immediately went to work for Mt. Bell in Salt Lake City in the construction department. His strong work ethic and physique helped provide him with business success as an employee and manager, as he turned the 30 blocks he walked to his first job site into a 30-year career. Also, during that time, to take care of his family, he began working at night landscaping homes, which grew into both a residential & commercial landscaping business. After retiring, he took the expertise he gained at Mt. Bell and started his own business – Four Seasons where for the past 40+ years he and his company have been providing underground utility services to the Western U.S. Up to the day of his illness, he was always the first one at the office to make sure the coffee was ready for his crew, to find out how they were doing, and to get them off to the jobsite.
His love of fishing is well known, specifically at Fish Lake. He would take the trailer down from SLC and set up in May of each year and not want to come back until September. Those 4 months each year were magical, and he loved sharing the trailer, lake, and mountains with all our family. He and mom made many lifelong friends and memories over the many years they were at Bowery Haven. He caught the Fish Lake record setting Mackinaw on June 28, 2001 at 11:40am - 40lbs. 5oz. & 42” long with a 28”girth.
Few knew of his membership in the Masonic Organization and the degrees of masonry achieved into the Scottish Rite. From this membership grew his passionate support for the Shriners Hospital for Children.
Those of us left behind are deeply saddened by his passing – Pamela, Rick, Cassi, Mike; Stephanie; Stephen, Hailey, Dan, Jake, Lily; Christopher, Amy, Josiah, Morgan; Shane, Traci, Jeremy; Ira; Carol; Ken; nieces and nephews. We are better people because we had the chance to be a part of, and witness, his life’s example – A legacy which he has passed on to us, and one in which, few are able to achieve.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a public viewing will be held on Sunday, May 17th from 2:00-4:00pm at Larkin Sunset Gardens, 1950 E. Dimple Dell Road, Sandy, Utah 84092. A private family gathering and service will be held Monday, May 18, 2020.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in the name of Philip F. Gee to Shriners Hospital for Children at Shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.