Our Fallen Star – Phil Wherry

/, News/Our Fallen Star – Phil Wherry

Our Fallen Star – Phil Wherry

It is with tremendous sadness that we announce NOVAC has lost one of our most beloved members and shining stars of our club due to heart failure on March 10, 2015.

Phil has been a NOVAC member since 2002, in that time he has done so much to carry the torch for the club in many roles from Board Member to being President multiple times.

Like the truly exceptional person he was, Phil always made time for everyone, regardless of his other responsibilities, and helped us all feel special within our NOVAC community. His leadership, kindness, gentle humor, and miraculous information technology talents helped to make NOVAC what it is today: an amazing organization filled with people dedicated to helping everyone enjoy the wonders of the night sky.

He talked about the Almost Heaven Star Party many times as “this is what being in a club is all about!” As Bob Parks said he was quick to volunteer for the star party early on and when it was time he took up leading and making it a premier event to attend. The combination of TMI and an astronomy event lead by Phil was the perfect storm!

Here is Phil’s Obituary posted by his family.

If you have thoughts about Phil and are a NOVAC member you can make them below in the post comments section.




By | 2017-01-20T12:35:16-05:00 March 17th, 2015|AHSP, News|2 Comments

About the Author:

Webmaster and Chair for AHSP - Current using a Celestron CPC 1100 Edge HD


  1. Tom Finkenbinder March 17, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    I’ve spent a lot of my waking hours since last Thursday when the news was announced about Phil, recalling good memories and with thoughts about what he contributed to all of our lives. Looking back and taking stock, like you do when these sad happenings occur, and without any intent to diminish the thousands of volunteer hours put into NOVAC by our members – for me – Phil was the club.

    It’s often said that running a volunteer organization is like herding cats, and so it is with NOVAC. Lots of cats. A really big volunteer organization. Phil had a way of normalizing everyone’s personal interests and without much of any delay, and when it counted, he was able to have us all pull in the same direction. It’s not cliché, I think he embodied the club motto in everything he did when it involved NOVAC.

    Many know that Phil volunteered his office, a family business adjacent to GMU, for staff meetings. I see it now as ground-zero for a lot of what was accomplished by the club in recent years. The planning hours for club meetings and events, the work with creative hosting, managing and delegating the work on the website, the coordination of a Herculean effort to pull off AHSP every year. I can’t imagine how many personal hours he must have put into NOVAC. He loved it. Every bit of it.

    Phil had the “geek-chic”, a common thread in the club. He was light years (pun intended) beyond my capabilities. We had a yuk together some months ago, about Scottish Highland Cattle raised on a farm next to our observing site at Camp Highroad. They had overrun the site. Club members included the encounters with their observing reports. Phil had recently vacationed in Scotland and had pictures of the beasts, one of which he put on the website. It’s still on the site details page for CHR, go look!

    A loss like this will leave a hole in the community we all enjoy with NOVAC – and I think that Phil would wish – that we won’t lament the loss for too long. In months ahead I’m sure we will all share our fond memories of Phil. He touched all of us and contributed so much to our experience with the hobby. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, and that they can somehow know how much he meant to so many of us.

    Tom Finkenbinder

  2. Sean Mathews March 30, 2015 at 11:59 am

    I was shocked when I heard the news of Phil’s passing. It’s really hard to sum up Phil’s contributions, as he has done so much.

    Tom so eloquently summarized the feelings that I am sure we all have. For me though, Phil represented the rare individual that had so much knowledge to the point that it could be intimidating, yet he answered question from me or anyone else with alacrity.

    My first AHSP was in 2011 and Phil has always had a significant impact on me every year I have attended. I gained a lot of knowledge over the course of the years talking to Phil during AHSP. While I did not know him nearly as well as the other regular attending members of NOVAC, he left an impact on me and my wife. I really can’t fathom attending this year’s AHSP knowing that he won’t be there. It will truly be bittersweet.

    Thank you Phil, for all that you have done.

Leave A Comment