Town councilman dies of cancer at 75

The town of Coupeville lost a resident who was known for his participation in the community and sense of humor.

Town Councilman Philip Williamson died Sunday from cancer at his home in Coupeville. He was 75.

Known for sticking to his own opinion while being able to admit when he was wrong, Williamson was in the middle of his second term as councilman.

“He always provided vibrant input, was a long experienced resident and willing to defend his point of view,” said Councilman Marshall Bronson.

After moving to Coupeville in 1990, Williamson was eventually appointed to the Planning Commission and was elected to the Town Council in 1998.

“He was very dedicated to the town and tried to do the right thing for the community,” said Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard.

Williamson’s wife, Rowena, said Philip believed in the legal system and could admit he was wrong.

When he ran for his second term he decided to run on his accomplishments.

“He wouldn’t really campaign and it drove us crazy,” said Rowena Williamson. She added that Phil had a wicked sense of humor which he used to puncture overinflated egos.

Williamson was also involved in the Coupeville Lions Club, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Scottish American Military Society.

Williamson served in the Navy as a diver and submariner. After he retired, the couple moved to Coupeville in 1990. Rowena said they knew of Whidbey from camping excursions they had while raising their two sons.

Recently, Phil decided to track down his past. By tracing his genealogy, he was able to find and meet his sister about a year ago and learn about his family.

“This was the greatest thing and now he has more relatives than I do,” Rowena said.

Williamson had been a smoker for the past 60 years and quit smoking last May. However, in September, he was diagnosed with cancer.

“We thought he had a very good chance of beating it,” Rowena said.

Williamson is survived by his wife, Rowena, sons Philip II of Coupeville and Andrew of Seattle. He will be buried at sea from a submarine with military honors, Rowena said. A complete obituary appears on page A-7 of today’s Whidbey News-Times.

A memorial celebration is planned for June 15.

Vacancy to be filled

With the death of Philip Williamson, Coupeville Town Council is left with a vacancy to fill. Mayor Nancy Conard said that the council hasn’t held a meeting to discuss the situation, but the council will appoint someone to fill Williamson’s position. That person will hold the seat until the next election. Anyone interested should inquire at city hall.

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