Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Passing of Phil Lucas!

This shocking news just came from a friend who knew that I was very close to Phil.

Our dear friend apparently was not able to survive a triple coronary bypass surgery. (We were told that he died immediately afterwards.)
I've been trying, actually for months, to connect with Phil since Julie and I will be in the area near Issaquah, Washington where he was living with his family and we wanted to pass by for a visit.

I first met Phil, who was part Mexican American and part Choctaw, at the original Bosch Baha'i School, called then "Geyserville" in those days. He and I, and a young artist fellow named, Larry Jordan, drove up to the Yukon Territory on the first Baha'i Youth Project outside of the Continental U.S. It was a "trip" in more ways than one. Phil was a true entertainer and was a very intense person with amazing talents. Larry and I hoped that some of Phil's dynamism would rub off on us, and we learned so much about life and spirituality from him.

Our journey started out (in my old '57 Chevy pickup) with a round of Tablet of Ahmads and a promise among the three of us that we would dedicate 24 hours a day for the next 6 weeks (duration of the project) to the Faith. That we would keep an eye on each other to see that none of us would become distracted (by girls or anything else--hey, we were all single!) from our teaching goal.

That decision was key to the amazing successes we experienced. Not only did we put the roof on, and a new brick floor in, the Baha'i Institute on a lake near Whitehorse (which was the original goal of the project) but we also traveled to the most amazing Baha'i Summer School in Juneau, Alaska. People arrived there from some of the most remote parts of Alaska, so we were able to meet Alaskan Native Baha'is and pioneers who attended, as well. People were so totally united anyway, but with Phil's entertaining skills and marvelously animating songs (some written during the trip), the place was totally rocking! The unity and excitement was palpable.

After the week-long Summer School we were sent back to the Yukon to finish our project, and to travel teach over a vast area of the wilderness there (with hundreds of miles between villages sometimes), and then visited the coastal islands for more teaching. We were flown to some islands in a Baha'i's personal airplane, had a radio interview (Phil being the main attraction--Larry and I were terrified and inexperienced in that stuff) and finally returned home via an ocean-going ferry (with the truck on board). We disembarked, I think, at Ketchikan and drove back to California from there, our lives completely transformed...

To see Phil in action, check out the following video of a talk he gave in 1990:

For those who knew Phil, condolences can be sent to the following address:
Lucas Family
c/o Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Issaquah
PO Box 743
Issaquah, WA 98027


At 10:32 PM, Blogger Hansens said...

Phil Lucas was very loved and known here in the reservation community, he made the video about the Nez Perce that they still show at the local Museum. His daughter has been here a couple of times serving with other youth. Wonderful family!!!! Our prayers are with them.
When are you guys coming???maybe we will meet you in Issaquah(5hrs fron here) not too much to see good friends.

At 10:09 PM, Blogger eljobo said...

Hi Jere,
I never met Phil Lucas but I remember hearing about your trip to Yellowknife. McToners

At 2:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that!

At 12:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I offer up a wikipedia article about him...



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