Beloved teacher Philip Young dies at 68

Philip Young

Philip M. Young of Hopewell passed away at home on March 6 with his family by his side after a valiant struggle with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. He was 68.

Philip was born in Emerson to David and Eleanor Young, and with his sister Catherine he grew up in a household where music, poetry, literature, and delicious food were mainstays; the love for which Phil nurtured and shared generously throughout his life.

Philip received his bachelor’s degree from Montclair State College and his master’s degree in counseling psychology from Trenton State College and spent most of his career teaching, counseling, and mentoring students from all walks of life. Since 2002, Philip was an English teacher at the Daylight Twilight School in Trenton, an alternative high school designed to attract and retain students for whom conventional programs were unsuccessful. Although his job presented unique challenges, Philip was able to engage and gently challenge his students in a way that was relatable to them. He was well respected and liked by his colleagues. The outpouring of concern and well wishes from faculty and current and former students has been incredibly touching to Philip’s family.

Philip was a true Renaissance man. He was a curious learner and voracious reader, a songwriter, poet, musician, and cook. He was the go-to guy for book and movie recommendations and crossword clues, with vast knowledge of a wide range of subjects. His relaxed and easy-going nature was infectious, and you could always count on Philip to give you his full attention. It was the way Philip shared and conveyed his knowledge, never boastful or critical, always approachable and never preachy that made such a strong impression. Although quiet by nature, Philip could easily converse with people of all ages and backgrounds and was always interested to hear their ideas and experiences.

Philip and his wife Linda would have celebrated their 40th anniversary this September. He was a supportive and loyal partner who loved spending time at home with Linda, either cooking and entertaining friends or just watching movies by the fire and hanging out with their dog Nyah.

From the day Philip’s two children Alex and Emma were born, he cherished and guided them, gently imparting his wisdom while giving them space to be individuals, always with patience and humor. Regardless of the situation, his kids knew that he would always advocate for them. He passed on his love of the written word and music to them and is remembered for quietly whistling, humming, and tapping along to the soundtrack of his life.  Phil and his family enjoyed many happy vacations on Martha’s Vineyard and loved to spend time with Linda’s large extended family. Gatherings were often large and rambunctious, yet Philip was a beacon of chill, and always found a way to individually connect with every member of the family, young and old. He was sought out for his advice and his quiet and gentle nature, and he was loved and respected like a brother to them all.

Philip was predeceased by his parents and his sister and leaves behind his wife Linda, his son Alex and his wife Nicole, his daughter Emma and her partner Mark, grandchildren Zoe, Bodhi, and Ollie, and his devoted dog Nyah. He also leaves his lifelong friend David Piete and his wife Georgianna. The untimely loss of such a special and gifted person has left a hole in the hearts of everyone who had the good fortune of knowing Philip. A celebration of his life will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton on Saturday, March 18, at 5:30 p.m.