My carpenter who has been working for me for the past 2 years died unexpectedly in his sleep last night. Over the course of the past couple of years, I spent countless hours with him doing work around the house, trying to finish my never ending construction project in Bridgewater, MI. I first met Phil through his son, Kyle, who was a student of mine at Jackson Community College and slowly got to know him through hours and hours of conversation regarding hundreds of topics. Phil was the embodiment of a true selfless and free spirit, who would drop anything whenever I needed him and took on more than his fair share of responsibility for building my house when I was unable to. He worked slowly and not very consistently, but would somehow manage to get my bizarre project rolling along, when most carpenters would have likely walked away. The end result was more than I could have ever asked for. Phil was a great carpenter and truly gave his all to my odd project. I will sorely miss his constant clearing of his throat, his endless supply of methane gas, an electronic version of “Amazing Grace” ringing every five minutes, his disaster of a $250 pickup truck, but what I will miss most of all is his freely given friendship and support. Phil was my honest contact to the real world, separate from academia and degree holding upper middle class kids of safety and privilege, separate from all the nonsense that I seem to surround myself with. Phil was an honest and real dude, and I will greatly miss him as I would miss any member of my own family.