Remembering Phil Flash – Beloved Mercer Island “Fixture”

Phil FlashMercer Island Youth & Family Services extends our condolences to the entire Flash family. Phil Flash died on April 4 at 96.5 years of age! Phil was named Mercer Island Citizen of the Year in 1990. Phil will be missed and his legacy will live on through the creation of the Flash Family Inspiration Award in 2009 which annualy honors a Mercer Island senior adult (55+) who exemplifies the spirit of good sportsmanship or community leadership and who possesses an optimistic attitude and friendly demeanor while acting as a role model to others. Phil Flash also served as the Honorary Co-Chair of the 2014 MIYFS Foundation Giving from the Heart Breakfast.

Philip Nathan Flash
Sept. 19, 1918 to April 4, 2015

Philip Nathan Flash, Boeing engineer, artist and art collector, Mercer Island historian, died April 4, 2015, of old age. He was 96.5. His mind kept saying “everything is going to be super, super, super.” But his body had simply done enough after a lifetime of activity, including painting, traveling, collecting, jogging, hiking, skiing, gardening and creating.

Phil offered a perfect example of how to live life: Keep busy, exercise, eat healthy food, never, ever sweat the small stuff, and always stay positive. His mantra was “be a good person” and that simple philosophy won him countless friends and admirers.

Phil was born in Victoria, B.C. on Sept. 19, 1918, and moved to Seattle at age 2. He grew up in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, graduated from Broadway High School, and attended the University of Washington, where he studied architecture and industrial design. He worked for over 45 years as a design and ergonomics engineer at Boeing. Known for being a natty dresser, Phil was passionate about art – both as a talented painter and a collector. During his life he served as the president of the Northwest Watercolor Society and president and lifetime member of the Puget Sound Group of Northwest Artists.

He married Claire Barkey Flash in 1960 and together they had two children and built a beautiful house on Mercer Island, which he continued to fill with art and folk art after Claire’s death in 1991. Later in life Phil became active in the Mercer Island Historical Society, serving as its president for many years. He was a fixture on Mercer Island and was named Citizen of the Year in 1990. He was also an active member of both Temple De Hirsch Sinai and Temple B’nai Torah.

Born in 1918, during WWI, Phil witnessed nearly a century of history. He leaves behind a legacy of artwork, history, and kind words to those who knew him. He is preceded in death by his wife Claire, and sister Evelyn Nickerson. He is survived by his daughter Cynthia Flash Hemphill (Dan), Edward Flash (Allison), and grandchildren Nathan, Sara, Evan, Adam and Daniel. A funeral service and burial will be held on at 11 a.m. Tuesday April 7 at Butterworth Funeral Home – Arthur A. Wright Chapel, 520 W. Raye St., Seattle. Remembrances can be made to the Flash Family Campership Fund through The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, The Mercer Island Historical Society, or the Student Scholarship Fund with the Puget Sound Group of Northwest Artists.

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