YAKIMA, WA — Philip Otto Weivoda passed peacefully with his wife and family by his side on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at the age of 91. Phil’s passing marks a legacy of love, unparalleled community service, and spiritual devotion which stand as example to all who knew him.
Phil was a member of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes born August 14, 1927, in St. Ignatius. One of four children, he was raised on the Weivoda family’s Mud Creek ranch on the Montana reservation in Mission Valley. He graduated early with honors from Ronan High School at the age of 16, and continued his education with Gonzaga Prep and Gonzaga University where he became the first member of his immediate family to attend college, earning a degree in Business and Accounting. While in college Phil enlisted in the Coast Guard, and continued service in the Navy during the Korean War. While serving as a Radarman, the ship where Phil was stationed was attacked causing the loss of many shipmates, and serious injury to Phil which ultimately lead to his final honorable discharge January 15, 1954.
Phil considered entering the Roman Catholic priesthood, until he met Carrie L. Shumaker who was contemplating becoming a nun. Instead of pursuing holy service, Phil went to work with the Old National Bank and Phil and Carrie were married May 12, 1956 in Spokane, Washington where they started their family. The couple was active in their church and community, and in 1965 Phil was transferred to be a loan officer for the bank in Sunnyside, Washington. There Phil took the bank in an unprecedented direction by approving micro-loans which supported establishment of many of the farms and Hispanic-owned businesses in the Sunnyside area. In appreciation of the difference he made in their lives, the Hispanic community honorably inducted Phil into the close-knit group De Colores / Cursillo.
In 1970 Phil suffered a major seizure at work due to his prior military injury. A series of intensive surgeries over several years left Phil with only 40 percent of his brain before he was stabilized and able to pursue long-term rehabilitation. Phil’s faith, and strength and character served him well in recovery. Against all odds Phil re-trained his brain to adapt to a full recovery of speech and physical independence which were so unexpectedly refined he was able to requalify for a driver’s license despite his disability. Unable to continue his banking career, Phil and family moved to Yakima, Washington and from this point forward Phil devoted his life full-time to providing spiritual and community service to others.
Phil was a very active volunteer with the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and Goodwill as well as constant service leader in the Catholic Church. Phil participated in Holy Family Church, and both St. Paul’s and St. Joseph’s Catholic Churches in Yakima serving as a Sacristan, Eucharistic Minister, Cantor and even Altar Server when needed. Phil delivered communion to the elderly and shut-ins, and whenever possible he would lead and sing the music in masses, which he participated in several times a week. Phil’s daily service to others spanned the simple basics of shoveling the steps in front of the church or weeding the garden of a senior citizen, to rushing life-giving blood or vital organs as a carrier for the Red Cross.
Phil received numerous honors and awards for his non-profit work and volunteerism throughout his life. In 1984 he was the first volunteer recognized by the Yakima Office of DSHS for “Outstanding Service” of 14 years. In October of 1998 Phil was honored by appointment to the Washington State Council on Aging by then Governor Gary Locke. Phil was honored by being chosen to speak to state legislators in Olympia, Washington on behalf of Yakima’s Native American Tribal elders. Also, in November of 2016 Phil was awarded the “Distinguished Medal of Service” by the Pointman International Ministries of Yakima Washington Outpost for his military service and sacrifice.
Throughout his life Phil enjoyed traveling to visit family, attending Pow-Wows and other Native American activities, and he also loved camping and the outdoors which included a bucket-list journey which took him to Alaska. Phil was frugal and loved finding bargains which helped him stretch the shopping dollars for the elderly he served, and he taught his children to honor service and to keep Christ in their lives. Later in life, when Phil was needing the service of others himself, he was welcomed into the Living Care Retirement Community where he received loving and constant attention from the Living Care staff for over 9 years before he passed away.
Surviving Phil is his wife Carrie L. Weivoda and their four children—Ruth, George, Naomi and Sarah—ten grandchildren and six great grandchildren as follows:
• Oldest daughter Ruth (Weivoda) Woodworth, her husband Kevin Woodworth and their two children. Son Adam Woodworth and his wife Nina and their children Sven and Maiken; and daughter Leslie Woodworth and her husband Jonathan Ohrt.
• Only son George Weivoda, his wife Tamara Herrmann and George’s six children. Daughter Casey Weivoda who has three children Aubrey, Shayleigh, and Kaida, and Casey’s husband Tony Farrell; son Collin Weivoda and his wife Megan and their child Magda Boone; son Nicholas Weivoda; son Philip Weivoda and his wife Valerie; son Matthew Weivoda; and daughter Brianna Weivoda.
• Middle daughter Naomi Weivoda-Dobbs and her two children; son Skyler Dobbs and daughter Alexandra Dobbs.
• Youngest daughter Sarah (Weivoda) Wolf and her husband Michael J. Wolf.
The last of his immediate family to pass, Phil was preceded in death by his parents George and Anastasia (Morigeau) Weivoda, sister Lillian “Tinka” (Weivoda) DiPasquale, and his brothers Wallace and George “Hodie” Weivoda.
Phil will be remembered in a Catholic service in Yakima, Washington next month, and the family will later travel to Montana for his final burial there alongside his beloved mother. Confirmation of the service will be published at a later date. In memory of Phil, the family is asking in lieu of flowers to have tax-deductible donations made to Living Care Retirement Community. Arrangements are being managed by Keith and Keith Funeral Home, 902 West Yakima Avenue, Yakima, Washington 98902. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.keithandkeith.com.