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Letter to the Editor: Chelsea has lost a great friend

On Mother’s Day this year Chelsea lost one of the icons of our town.

No he was not a rich man, or a powerful man, or a local leader, but someone who brought joy and friendship into many people’s lives in Chelsea.

There is no one living in town that can say they have not seen him riding one of his various 10 speed bikes around town day after day, month after month, year after year!

Yes, I am speaking of Phil Heymann.

We moved to Chelsea in 2004 from Livonia so we could raise our son, in a small town, where people knew and cared about each other. We were tired of just being another number in the Detroit suburbs.

Phil was the epitome of the small-town person we were looking for. We met Phil very early on in the same way everyone met Phil. As he rode around town, he would strike up conversations with just about anyone, like his own independent welcoming committee.

He loved just shooting the breeze with you telling you tales of his love of golf, his beloved potbelly pig, or the latest round of aches and pains he unfortunately suffered with for so many years, that the bike riding helped with, somewhat.

My husband and I laughed and laughed at the many tales he would tell as we sat on our porch, like people used to do before we were all too busy to even notice our neighbors.

He would find “treasures” in various places, clean them up, and give them to little tikes he knew around town, telling them it was “Pirate Treasure,” which, of course, they would believe with great excitement.

He loved to make a daily stop at the Chelsea State Bank for a cup of coffee and to visit with his many teller friends who counted on his visits for some comic relief. Phil had few possessions in life, but he had a wealth of friends and “chosen” family who loved and cared very much about him.

I know I will be waiting and looking for Phil for a long time to come when I am weeding in my garden or sitting on my porch.

Phil you will be greatly missed!

I hope you are teeing off in the great golf course in the sky!

Cathy Bean

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8 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor: Chelsea has lost a great friend”

  1. I’m one of Phil’s neighbors and I’m hoping to find out where I can make a memorial contribution to and if he will have a cemetery as a resting place to visit him.

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  2. It is with grief I write this. I still watch for Phil on his bike even tho I know he is gone. He did what he could to spread friendship and joy to Chelsea. Good bye with love, Jeannie.

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  3. I baked him Cherry pie from the farmers market in July which he loved and would share my dinner every now and then, like other neighbors would. He was right out of Norman Rockwell’s paintings of small town America. Phil didn’t need a cell phone or high tech to be in the know because his travels throughout Chelsea streets usually barefoot, indeed made him aware of the important things in life. He was a recycler and reinventor, especially when it came to rigging his bike. Now that Spring is here, its just not the same without a chat from Phil while I’m digging the weeds in the the front garden. Bless you friend, you made Chelsea special.

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  4. Thanks for capturing all of our sentiments, Cathy! I will miss Phil, too. He had a kind and generous heart and in the end, that is what counts.

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  5. I enjoyed Phil so much too! He came by our house often and I always saw him on my walks with our dog. He loved Pete and Pete loved him too. A couple weeks ago I realized I hadn’t seen him recently and the weather was too good for him not to be out & about, so I checked with the police dept., and they said he was ill and with his family. I’m sorry he’s gone but glad he was with his sister, I heard this on a Chelsea FB post. I’ll miss him.

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  6. Phil took life as it came and made the best of it. Somehow in doing that he made life better for those he met on his two-wheel adventures. Thanks, Cathy, for an eloquent farewell to one of Chelsea’s treasures.

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