His abilities to create, to partake in life as he did so richly, and eventually even to communicate, were stripped away bit by bit by what he called "this goddamned disease." Nevertheless, he didn't spend a lot of what energy he had in fecklessly railing against it all, like I might have done, and I think his profound, nigh-unquenchable sense of humor was a saving grace. His loving wife and family were with him, and hospice care.
Phil was a remarkable husband, father, grandfather, and a stalwart friend. He was one who helped me out of a very dark time, and when the Internet was new, he was also one who made me understand that my particular and perhaps peculiar sexual interests were nevertheless not as deviant as I used to think. Phil himself was as decent, intelligent, and caring a man as ever walked the planet. We shared, across the distance via that wonderful tool, the Web, all the joys and sorrows of each other's family life, and hundreds of photos.
We also shared many a grin over twenty-plus years of goofy "Overbarrel" and "WolfieToon" creations. Phil first learned the "Poser" program via a copy in German-- he didn't speak or read German-- and never stopped developing and getting better at it. He had a natural movie director's eye, although he had never studied filmmaking, and many of his Poser Epics were cinematically brilliant. Sometimes his 'toons were "copy heavy," and I occasionally made suggestions about word balloon placement, and even recommended putting the words below the pictures, à la "Prince Valiant," but he never went for it.
Phil was the most guileless and honest man I've met. I worried about that for him in the World Of Weird Web People, but he never came to or caused any harm. And, yeah, once in a while his ribald sense of humor got the better of him, and fantasies went off in directions I wouldn't trod, but Fantasy is one thing, Reality another, and he never, ever confused the two.
A panel from one of the many Springrose Birthday Tales: