Without much warning, Phil Godon died on November 29, 2022. He enjoyed life up to the very end. Very deeply loved by his wife Cathy, his daughter Elizabeth, stepdaughter Grace (Josh) and grandchildren Reily and Payton. He was important in the lives of Hubert David and Marianne and her children, too.
Predeceased by his parents Frank Godon and Helen Barthlette Godon, three of his nine siblings: Margaret, John and Lorna, and his nieces Melanie and Pamela. He leaves behind his large and loving Godon clan: his brother Frank (Gail), his brother-in-law, Russ, his brother Andy (Sheila), his sisters Shirley, Ruth, Rita and Emma (Earl). But that’s only the beginning: he dearly loved his nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and nephews: Laura, (Mark) Leanne (Mike), Melissa, Helen (Al), Jeff (Sara), Angie, Jill (Mark) Joey and Edward. And then came along his grand nephews and grand-nieces: Miriam Anissa, Aden, Ali, Patrick, Jennifer and Adam, Isaiah, Elijah, Oliver, Gabriel, Arabella, and Max.
Phil was very proud of his Sudbury roots. It took him a while to settle into a career: seminary, Inco miner, teacher, sawmill worker, and eventually civil servant. Phil felt most helpful and engaged in his work in his early years working on the ground in the northern regions of Ontario helping employers find the employees they needed and supporting training and skills development most importantly in the area of native employment. Most of his career was briefly in Toronto and ultimately in Ottawa, in headquarters policy and programming for marginalized Canadians, especially people with disabilities.
Because his family wasn’t quite large enough, he met Cathy and Grace in 1996 and was welcomed into the Lyons family, marrying Cathy in 2000. He lost his father-in-law, Charles in 2002, and his and his mother-in-law Zoe in 2004. He leaves behind his second family who loved him dearly: sister-in-law Barbara (Jim) and sister-in-law Susan (Steve); his nephews and nieces Steve, Lucie, Rod, Tina and Steph and his great nephew Julien and grand-niece Cecilia.
In 2009 he and Cathy started new adventures moving to the shores of the Bonnechere River between Deacon and Killaloe. Phil loved the “doings” as he would call them. When he finished house renovations he opened his heart and shared his talents volunteering in the local community he and Cathy grew to love. He took special joy in being with kids (as he was one himself): developing the Killaloe Kids BookFest, running the Basketball Free Throw on behalf of the Knights of Columbus, volunteering in school , working at the desk in the library, building sets and acting in Stonefence Theatre, Toastmasters, marshalling at the golf course, doing bookkeeping for the Ottawa Valley Creative Arts Open Studio, and enjoying being a member of the Killaloe Curling Club. His most recent commitment was helping with the development of the Reading Trail in Killaloe Pathways Park and taking on the position of president for the Killaloe Seniors Friendship Club.
He and Cathy expanded their family, working closely with Grace and our late friend Jayne, to welcome Fadi Saqbani to Ottawa. Soon after he was joined by another amazing Syrian refugee, Rabea Alriffai. It got even better when we were able to sponsor Rabea’s parents, Adnan and Hala and his sister Huda to join him. Fadi married Aseel and baby Ryan joined us just short of a year ago.
Phil embraced his Metis roots more strongly in the last years of his life, and he found a deeper and more meaningful spirituality, moving away from the institutional church and spending many hours reading works by Ronald Rolhesier, Richard Rohr, Mary Oliver and the Christian mystics.
Phil loved nature in all its forms; he especially loved feeding and watching the birds, squirrels and chipmunks. His most recent canine partners-in-crime, Zeb and Rosie will miss him a lot, and not just because he loved to share his food with them.
Sprinkle in lots of laughter, a zest for new adventures, a deep love of lifelong learning, dabbling in electrical work, plumbing and carpentry, a strong interest in all things computer, a deep appreciation for everyday beauty, sudokus, Irish whiskey, and milk chocolate-covered almonds – and there you have my beloved Phil.
Professional arrangements for Phil are being made by Zohr Family Funeral Home, Killaloe. There will be a community visitation on Tuesday, December 6th from 3:00-7:00pm and a goodbye and blessing ceremony for immediate family and close friends at 11:00am on Wednesday. As he wished, Phil was cremated and his ashes will be returned to the Bonnechere River he so loved, in 2023. To honour Phil, please wear a mask as he was so careful to do.
In honour of Phil’s spirit, please consider donations to the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund or Indspire.
Phil’s family thanks all the Doctors who cared for him over the past years of his illness. A special thank you to Renfrew County paramedics, the Ontario Provincial Police and the caring staff of St. Francis Memorial Hospital for giving him comfort as he left the part of his journey that was here on earth. Safe travels, my most beloved gift.
Be still my soul, and steadfast.
Earth and heaven both are still watching
Though time is draining from the clock
And your walk, that was confident and quick
Has become slow.
So, be slow if you must, but let
The heart still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved, deeply
And without patience. Let God and the world
Know you are grateful.
That the gift has been given.