Obituary of Phillip Robert Leary
Phillip Robert Leary
22 November 1955 – 4 August 2023
Phil loved the Monterey Bay area and made it his home for nearly 50 years. Born in Pasadena, Phil spent his childhood in San Diego,before the Leary family moved to Chicago, IL, Greeley, CO, before settling in San Mateo. In 1976, Phil moved to Santa Cruz to attend UCSC, graduating in 1978 with a BA in Politics. Phil passed away at the age of 67 in his Corralitos home August 4th, surrounded by family, friends and his canine wards.
Phil’s career in logistics and planning put him at the center of the third industrial revolution in Silicon Valley. He started with Seagate in 1982 in hard drive assembly, and over 18 years was tapped for larger roles, including the implementation of Seagate’s first overseas manufacturing facilities in Asia. In 2000, Phil left Seagate as Materials Manager when recruited by USI Manufacturing to spearhead logistics and planning for their Morgan Hill facility. Over the next 20 years, Phil’s experience proved invaluable to other Bay Area manufacturers (Innerstep, Areias, Sierra Instruments) as well as local agriculture (Nakano, Driscolls). Phil retired from Sierra Instruments as a buyer in 2022 after 9 years of service.
Phil was an avid outdoorsman, devourer of books, finish carpenter, traveler of the world. Phil’s determination, indifference to danger, and lack of coordination were unmatched: Phil cycled the 5-day 545-mile California Ride for Life in 1999 just three years after fracturing his femur in a near-fatal rollerblading incident; he hiked active volcanoes in Lassen, Iceland, and Italy, was pursued by feral poultry to the very peak of Te Manga, and shattered his wrist on a mountainside in Los Barriles, BCS; his golf game, already atrocious, never recovered. Phil skied the Sierras, the Rockies, Green Mtns (VT), and White Mtns (NH). Most recently, Phil skied Breckenridge this past March at 13,000 feet with undiagnosed stage 4 lung cancer. Phil’s passion for literature was a constant - a love that formed the bedrock of his closest relationships. Tolkien, Herbert, and Le Guin remained vital topics of conversation throughout his life, and Phil always had at least three novels by the bed. Phil and Andy extensively remodeled their first house in Watsonville, from tiling, to landscaping, to hardwood floors; Phil was gifted with plants and arrangements, and was an expert interior painter, albeit colorblind. Phil saw the world – first through employers and then with Andy - working, living, or playing in nearly every U.S. state, as well as Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Scotland, Baja California, Yucatán, Montréal, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Rarotonga and Aitutaki.
In 1998 Phil and Andy met in San Jose while Andy was in California for a business trip and the two have been bickering ever since. To better make his point, Andy moved to California in 1999 and the pair relocated to Watsonville and brought home Gus the wonder dog two years later. After 15 years, in 2013, 4 days after the Supreme Court decision making it legal, at Gay Pride in San Francisco Phil proposed on one knee with a ring and everything: Phil and Andy were married at Nisene Marks in Aptos in May 2014. Two years later, the pair relocated to the hills in Corralitos, bringing home defective rescue dogs Mo and Bob. Phil is survived by his husband Andy, his brothers Brad and Steve, niece Alisha, and nephews Keith, Trace, and Nolan, grandniece and grandnephews, beloved cousins, and an extraordinary group of chosen family, including Catherine Shay, and Lindsey Cloud who attended Phil during his illness and passing.
Phil will be laid to rest Saturday, August 26th at 11:00 AM at Purissima Cemetery in Half Moon Bay, California (1165 Verde Rd., Half Moon Bay, CA) with a celebration of Phil’s life immediately following at the Half Moon Bay Lodge (2400 Cabrillo Hwy S., Half Moon Bay, CA). Charitable donations can be made to the Watsonville Community Hospital Foundation Fund (https://www.pvhdp.org/) in consideration of their extraordinary work on Phil’s behalf under remarkable circumstances.