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1927 Philip 2023

Philip James Boren

March 19, 1927 — September 5, 2023

Philip James Boren passed away peacefully on September 5, 2023, surrounded by his family.


He was the son of Samuel Bornstein and Edna Hempel Boren, and younger brother of Sam Boren. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Ellie Boren, and children Debbie (Stu) Cordova, Jim (Caroline) Boren, Karen (Gregg) Gerstenberger and grandsons Phil (Chantelle) Boren and David Gerstenberger. He was preceded in death by his beloved granddaughter Katie Gerstenberger.


Phil was born in Seattle on March 19, 1927 and grew up on Capitol Hill. He attended Lowell and Stevens Elementary, Edmund Meany and Broadway High School. With a natural talent for dramatics, he acted in many plays and local repertory theater. His college career began with strong participation in the Drama department. When WWII interrupted his studies, Phil served in the United States Navy as a radar operator on the USS Kearsarge, and in the US Air Force Reserve, attaining the rank of Second Lieutenant. Phil returned to the University of Washington on the G. I. Bill and graduated as a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.


Post-university, Phil worked as a disc jockey and later as an advertising salesman for KRSC.


He married at the age of 25 at the home of his fiancée, Eleanor Schwabacher. As newlyweds, they built a cabin on Bainbridge Island which became a family hub for summer activities. This residence was later remodeled, became their retirement home and is a treasure to this day.


After moving to Bellevue, they had three children and Phil joined the family business of Schwabacher Hardware (later Pacific Marine Schwabacher) where he served for 14 years.


At the age of 40, he founded his own business, Philip J Boren, Inc., a manufacturer’s representative agency. He won many sales awards, right from the beginning, and was known for his integrity, customer service, tireless work ethic, creativity and humor. Phil became a private pilot which allowed him to cover his 5-state territory, spending less time away from home. Each member of the family worked for the business as it grew, and he taught us in his own unique way.


A man of many talents, hobbies and interests, he played tennis, golf, rode a bicycle, hosted play-readings, sang and played the harmonica and loved growing vegetables and apples in his garden; he was also an avid fly fisherman and pilot. He took up painting later in life and created a beautiful body of work which his family and friends treasure; he had an exhibition of his art at the Bainbridge Public Library when he was 90. Memberships in the Seattle Tennis Club, Wing Point Golf and Country Club and Palm Valley Country Club brought years of enjoyment, athletically and socially.


Phil and Ellie enjoyed their many trips to Europe, Canada, Asia and their condominium in Palm Desert, CA where they spent every winter for 20+ years and made many friends.


Phil was a devoted and active grandfather and had a huge impact and influence in his grandchildren’s lives. He also served for many years as a Sunday School teacher, on the board of the Seattle Aquarium, Diversion Board of Bainbridge Island, as a Rolling Reader in the North Kitsap School District and a tutor in the Mecca School District in the Coachella Valley of California.


The funniest, wittiest, quickest man we ever knew, his deep, genuine interest in people was one of his greatest qualities.


At Phil’s request, there will be no memorial services. Tributes may be made in his memory to the following organizations: Seattle Children’s Hospital, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center or the Bloedel Reserve Strolls for Well-Being Program.



He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.


- William Shakespeare, Hamlet




Arrangements enstrusted to Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island, WA. 

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