Philip Marcus, 91

Mechanical engineer, sports car enthusiast

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Philip A. Marcus, age 91, of River Forest died on March 15, 2020. Born on March 11, 1929 in Chicago to Henry and Anne (Gross) Marcus, he was a graduate of Oak Park and River Forest High School and the University of Illinois College of Engineering. During the Korean War, he served in the U.S. Navy, stationed at the ship repair facility in Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. There Lieutenant JG Marcus further developed his expertise as a mechanical engineer — and as a tournament-winning bridge player.

After returning from service and with the guidance of their father, he and his brother Charles started Utility Heating and Air Conditioning Inc., a successful mechanical contracting firm that installed and maintained commercial piping and HVAC systems. As a result of his work, he spent many hours driving throughout the Chicago area, enjoying every minute behind the wheel of his sports car.

An accomplished model railroader with a deep knowledge of rail history, every locomotive and car ran better and was more faithful to the prototype once he had disassembled, fine-tuned, and rebuilt it.

In 1961, he and Leah Nathanson married, after he courted her in his sports car. Together they enjoyed theater, comedy clubs (like Gate of Horn), dining (especially Ristorante Agostino), and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 

They raised a close and loving family: Jonathan (Lorraine Applebey), Jessica, and Sarah (Jeff Fraum); grandchildren Jacob and Benjamin Marcus, Matt Maenpaa (Zoe Streicker-Howard), and Sara, Zachary, and Dianarose Fraum; and great-grandchild Freya Rowan Maenpaa.

Phil is survived, in addition to his wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild, by his brothers Charles Marcus (Maureen Vollen) and Richard Marcus (Judy Augustus), and by many nieces and nephews and their families.

A private graveside funeral service was held at Jewish Oakridge Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Center for Railroad Photography and Art or the American Civil Liberties Union would be appreciated.

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