NEWPORT NEWS — Philip Marion ‘Phil’ Bowditch passed away Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Phil was the son of Willits Henry Bowditch and Marian Hornsby Bowditch.
Phil graduated from York High School in 1971 and went on to attend the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, where his brother, John, attended. He finished his studies at Averett University, graduating in the Class of 1975 with a degree in business management and marketing. Phil was active with Averett’s local alumni chapter until his passing.
He spent his career dedicated to the practice of real estate and was a broker for the majority of his career. He was practicing with Bowditch Properties and Family Properties at the time of his passing, and he enjoyed serving his clients and introducing them to the area’s local history.
Phil and his brother, David, converted their grandparents’ home in Yorktown to a bed and breakfast in 2009, now known as Hornsby House Inn. He took great pride in catering to guests at the Inn and always found time to share stories about the history of his family and house with guests. Phil and his brother could often be found on the front porch or outside playing backgammon.
Phil was a member of St. Stephens’s Episcopal Church, Newport News. He served on the vestry and was active in many church activities, including his favorite event, Oktoberfest. He was known for his cheese grits he served for church Sunday coffee hour and LINK of Hampton Roads PORT Emergency Winter Shelter Program. Phil was previously involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters and served on the board of Watermen’s Museum in Yorktown.
He loved his antique cars, especially his 1956 Thunderbird, which was gifted to him when he was 18 by his father. He was a member of the Classic Cruisers Car Club and appreciated their attendance at St. Stephen’s Church Oktoberfest.
Phil will be greatly missed by his family, friends and colleagues. Phil was easygoing, thoughtful and knew no strangers. Most commonly referred to as a true Southern gentleman, he had a passion for helping others. He enjoyed sharing his stories of Yorktown with his characteristic sense of humor. Phil’s family and the Yorktown Village people held a special place in his heart. He passed on his love of photography, American history, drawing and poetry to his children. He loved repairing furniture and whistled while he worked in his workshop.
Phil loved spending time on the water and duck hunting throughout the tributaries and marshes along the Chesapeake Bay. He was an active supporter of Ducks Unlimited. Phil loved to play backgammon with family and friends and loved building his famous golf ball castles at the beach. Phil could always be found wearing a bowtie, extending his hand to friends and strangers and offering one of his handmade pocket crosses.
Phil’s parents, Willits Henry Bowditch and Marian Hornsby Bowditch; brother, John Watts Bowditch; and nephew, Leland Coffey Bowditch, preceded him in death.
Phil is survived by his beloved bride of 39 years, Lee Kelly Bowditch; son, Philip Gray Bowditch (Julia); daughter, Elizabeth Kelly “Lisa” Bowditch (Vernon); adored granddaughter, Hazel Lee Bowditch; brothers, Willits Henry Bowditch Jr. (Merriel) and David Hornsby Bowditch (Rene); brother-in-law, Herbert Valentine “Bert” Kelly Jr.; sisters-in-law, Margaret “Peggy” Bowditch and Martha Kelly; and nieces, nephews, great-niece, great-nephews, many cousins and dear friends.
A memorial service and celebration of life will be held at 4 p.m., Saturday, May 15, at the Hornsby House Inn, 702 Main St., Yorktown. Facial masks and social distancing will be required.
The family suggests that any contributions to honor Phil’s life be made to a favorite local charity; St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 372 Hiden Blvd., Newport News, VA 23606; or the Watermen’s Museum, P.O. Box 519, or, 309 Water St., Yorktown, VA 23690.
Share online condolences with the family at Peninsula Funeral Home.