ESCANABA - Philip J. "Phil" VanElsacker, 60, 1522 S. 13th St., Escanaba, passed away unexpectedly Friday morning, Oct. 12, 2012, at Marquette General Hospital.
He was born June 8, 1952, in Escanaba to Philip J. and Eunice (Brower) VanElsacker. Phil was raised in Ford River and was a lifelong resident of Escanaba, graduating from Escanaba High School in 1970. After high school he spent time backpacking throughout Europe and playing bass in the band Salvador Foxx. Later he attended Bay De Noc Community College and Northern Michigan University where he earned a degree in education.
On Nov. 30, 1979, Phil married the former Luanne Young in Orlando, Fla.
Philip J. ‘Phil’ VanElsacker
Phil belonged to the Carpenters Union and worked on construction projects throughout Delta County. He sold real estate, owned and operated the Delta Inn Motel and more recently he worked for NewPage.
Phil was a man of many talents. There was always something going on in his workshop. If he wasn't fixing something, he was building something. He built beautiful cabinetry, furniture, a cedar strip canoe, and his most recent passion, building gas powered bicycles. He could often be seen riding the "Belgian Bullet" around town. He was a grill master and loved sharing his famous homemade beef jerky.
Phil enjoyed bird hunting and going to his friends hunting camp every fall. He was a great swimmer and scuba diver and enjoyed exploring sunken ships. In the past, he was a volunteer for the Delta County Search and Rescue Dive Team. He was also a former member of the Ford Rivers Lions Club. He especially loved and was so proud of his children and enjoyed getting to know all of their friends and spending time with them. He was the No. 1 fan of his son's band "Last Minute Larry's." You could find Phil and Luanne on the dance floor of every show. Phil admired his daughters creativity and their love for travel - traits he shared with them.
Among his survivors include his wife, Luanne of Escanaba; daughters, Angie (Piotr) of DaNang, Vietnam, Amy of Grand Rapids; son, Philip "Flip" (Josie) of Portland, Ore.; and his mother, Eunice of Ford River; several aunts, uncles, sisters and brothers-in-law, cousins, nieces, nephews and his beloved pup, "Frankie."
Phil was preceded in death by his father, Philip VanElsacker; and brother, Clarence VanElsacker.
A gathering celebrating Phil's life will be held Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the USW Local 21 Hall on 1201 Sheridan Rd. Escanaba, from 5-9 p.m. Crawford Funeral Homes are assisting the family with arrangements.