John Clay Phillips

Category: Obituaries
Created on Thursday, 16 August 2018 09:56
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John Clay Phillips, a fisherman of the sea, unexpectedly lost his life in Nushagak Bay on the morning of Wednesday, July 25, 2018. He was 59.

Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Grandpa, Uncle, Nephew, Cousin, Captain, Crew, Neighbor and Friend.

John was born August 28, 1958, in Sitka, the son of Nancy C. Phillips and Jack D. Phillips.

He was a long-time resident of Juneau, Petersburg and Pelican. He was widely known as a highliner fisherman of black cod and halibut, following in the footsteps of his parents.

John spent many years on the ocean on various fishing vessels: the F/V’s Aloha, Nancy K, Shamrock, Echo Belle, and Lone Fisherman. He sold the Lone Fisherman to his son, Jeb, who changed its name back to the Pacific Knight.

John worked with many deckhands, several of whom were with him through rough waters and calm seas; they realized a closeness in their hard work together. John’s wheelhouse motto was, “You’re only young once but if you do it right once is enough.”

Throughout the years, John loved to hunt, fish, go for skiff rides, read, watch movies and drive long road trips in his truck, often accompanied with his dog Roscoe. He was known by many to be kind, generous, and friendly to those around him.

John is survived by his wife Penney, of Juneau; parents Jake and Nancy Phillips, Sitka; sons Jeb (Angela) and Aaron, and their mother Maura, all of Petersburg; grandchildren Brayden, Blayre and Isla; brother James (Patricia) of Pelican; nephews James, Jordan and Frederick, all of Sitka, and Carl, Pelican; mother-in-law Janice of Twin Falls, Idaho; brother-in-law Rick (Mitzi) of Heyburn, Idaho, with six children and five grandchildren; and sister-in-law Lori of Jerome, Idaho,  with three children and eight grandchildren. 

The family would like to recognize Icicle Seafoods, and the crew of the F/V Amanda C.

“And thank you all for your phone calls, visits, food, cards, and your acts of kindness are dearly appreciated,” the family said.

A celebration of life will be held in Sitka at a date yet to be determined.