Ross Phillippi 1944 - 2022

Ross Lincoln Phillippi, of McMinnville, Oregon, died unexpectedly January 2, 2022, from a heart condition. He was born January 10, 1944, to Ross and Patricia Phillippi.

Ross was raised in the Westmoreland area of Portland until the family moved to their ranch in Glenwood, Washington. Ross loved the ranch and spent many happy years living the ranch life. The family eventually moved back to Cedar Hills, where he finished junior high and then graduated from Sunset High School in 1962.

During his high school years, Ross became a skilled mechanic. His classmate and future wife, Terry Schumacher, remembers him taking apart the engine of his prized 1957 Chevy, cleaning every nut, screw and bolt, painting each part, and putting the engine back together. He would drag race at “Mac," the McMinnville racetrack, during his teen years.

After high school, Ross went to Northrop Institute of Technology in Inglewood, California, where he received his Aircraft Maintenance and Power Plant license and a degree in engineering. He subsequently worked for United Airlines in Los Angeles, and then Electro Scientific Industries in Beaverton, where his technical skills were put to good use. His lifelong passion for aviation and mechanics never waned. He owned three airplanes over the years and flew for enjoyment. Most of the time he could be found in one of his two hangars, rebuilding his cars, motorcycles and airplanes.

When Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville bought Howard Hughes’s Spruce Goose, Ross was a key player and instrumental in putting it back together again in Oregon, beginning in 2000. His true love was the SR-71 Blackbird, on display at the Evergreen Space Museum. He was one of three guys who spent a month at Edwards Air Force Base dismantling the SR-71, crating it, shipping it to the Evergreen Museum, and then reassembling it. His expertise was recognized and lauded by all who worked with him. His knowledge of each display was impressive. His volunteer work at Evergreen was his passion, and he spent 21 rewarding years there.

Ross lived his life to the fullest. He was an avid skier, enjoying the slopes in both Oregon and Colorado with his brother, Jon. They even skied together in Switzerland. He traveled the world and enjoyed exotic cruises with his former wife, Lynda Phillippi.

His family and friends are deeply saddened by his sudden death. Those who knew Ross best were touched by his kindness, humility and quiet temperament. He was truly a gentleman. We will miss his shy smile, that knowing twinkle in his eyes and the delight he took in explaining the workings of everything with an engine.

He is survived by his brother, Jon Phillippi (Joy); nephew, Tyler Phillippi (Kassia); cousins, Hank Barton (Holly), Steve Barton (Sue), and Dana Cress (Scott); as well as his dear friend and companion, Susan Gardner. Ross was predeceased by his mother and father, Ross and Patricia Phillippi, and his sister, Jan Phillippi.

A celebration of his life is being planned and will be announced at later date.


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