Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Service


First, thank you. Each and every e-mail, phone call and letter carries with it the same weight and heart felt significance. We do read and forward on each and every communication.

We will have the funeral service on Thursday May 29, The service will be a small private farewell (family only) followed by a very unprivate memorial on Sunday June 1st. at Pioneer Park in Nevada City Ca. The memorial will begin at 10 a.m and last a couple of hours. Because of my dads love of little league baseball the memorial will be held on home plate at the little league field in Pioneer Park and have a very distinct baseball flavor.

I know that I should write more but .... I can't , I just can't. I hope you understand.
Thank You


Anonymous said...

I think I can talk for everyone Duncan. I sure do understand your pain just now. Your fathers death has kicked me harder then my own fathers passing.And I just can't explain why. Perhaps it is because he had so much more to say!!!I feel for you all! My tears are shared with you and yours. Keith Bednar

Anonymous said...

I wish I could be there on June 1 to celebrate Utah's life. I met him in 2003 when I was a reporter at the Auburn Journal and jumped at the chance to interview him for the paper. We talked over lunch at Ike's Quarter Cafe in Nevada City, and it only took a few minutes for me to stop interviewing and start listening - his stories danced to life and I was hooked! I saw him perform a few weeks later with Ani in Grass Valley, and I felt it only right to say hello before the show. Not only did he say hello, but he wrapped me up in a big bear hug like I was a long-lost friend. And that's just what he felt like, a long-lost friend. Such a quality is rare in this world, and he will be greatly missed.
-Bethany (Harrison) Drysdale

Anonymous said...

First I must confess my ignorance, of which I am terribly ashamed. I never heard of your father until I heard him interviewed in Democracy Now! yesterday. It was an interview in 2004.

What a courage. What a clear thinker. What great deeds. As he said, there is no need to be pessimistic in this world.

"We", me included until recently, "worship" the wrong heros: the rich, the powerful and the "successful". Instead of those like your father. The world would be a much better place.

My condolences,

Albert Liem
Alberta, Canada

Dale Miller said...

In the winter of '69-'70 I was a Vista volunteer working for the Utah Migrant Council and an aspiring folk music performer. There wasn't too much for me to do during the winter so I spent a lot of time with Bruce and moved into the Joe Hill House he was creating (or re-creating) at the time. I'd like to relate a good story from then.
Bruce had to pick up Rosalie Sorrels at the bus station and was also politicking for some person or cause (sorry, I don't remember). I speak pretty good Spanish so he drafted me and we went to get Rosalie driving some funky sedan or pick-up truck with a PA on top (like the Blues Brothers movie). On the way back we drove all around the Latino sections of Salt Lake City while I read a script Bruce had prepared. Rosalie was cracking up. She thought the whole thing was hilarious.
Bruce had such a lot of positive energy and was fun to be around. People sometimes forget what a really good guitar player he was and that was a huge connection for us.
I've never met you, Duncan, but really liked and admired your father.

Farewell Uncle Bruce said...

Hi Duncan and Joanna,
I want to express my deep sadness on hearing of your loss, our loss. It is hard to let go of this precious human life. Bruce had a great influence on the world. This is brought into stark relief as people pour out their grief and memories and stories all over cyberspace. I'm so sorry I can't be with you for the funeral or the memorial. I'm grateful to you for keeping up this blog. It has helped me to be in touch with someone who influenced me in ways he'll never know. I recall one time going up to him after one of his performances and saying hi. He asked me what I was doing there! Of course I was there just to see him. It was the nature of the relationship I had with my uncle, to see him perform, to read about him in the papers or on the internet, to listen to his records. I even learned to do a song he wrote that was recorded by the Limelighters. I've had an opportunity to do it a couple of times for other, but I'm no Utah Phillips. When I was young I wanted to emulate him, I admired him so.
My love to you, Bobbette, Brandon and Joanna. Love also to Morigan Belle and Brendan.
Your cousin,

Quincy said...

I really loved your Dad's work. Thinking about him today I put one of his CD's in and through tears, had a smile on my face when my two year old starting singing along with he and Ani "the most dangerous woman in America..." What a legacy he has left. Many blessings and much love to your family during this sad time.

Anonymous said...

To Duncan and all the Family -
I wish to express my deepest condolences to you. I had the pleasure of seeing/hearing Utah live/in person twice (both times associated w/ani). His gift to us is unique and he is irreplaceable.
So much gratitude to you for the blog and sharing Utah's last days/weeks with us.
There just aren't words available that express my sadness.
I hear the long whistle blowing.
Love and Peace to you all.
Lili Burnley in Monte Rio, Ca.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes to you all. He was quite a man.

Anonymous said...

I loved this guy. Used to see him when I worked at McCabes in Santa Monica 30 years ago. I never met a man who could tell you more about your country's past that you didn't know and why you should care. Turned me into a radical, Utah did, and I loved him for it. I'll miss him as I miss my own family who are also gone. My heart goes out to all of you.

George said...

Joanna, Duncan and all:

Passing this on from the Upstate NY IWW Branch. It was just May 3 when they helped sponsor a benefit concert with the Eighth Step at Proctors. See you Saturday, I am in the area and driving Faith up. -George from NYC


When we first heard Utah on the radio back in the early '70s, on the local college station that eventually hosted his "Loafer's Glory" program, we could have been deceived by the novelty of "Moose Turd Pie" and written him off as another run-of-the-mill folkie. But there was something so much more there, the voice, those train and tramping songs.

And our dear Utah did not fade into obscurity. When we got involved in our unions at work and with the labor scene around our home area, there were his songs and the IWW numbers that he always interpreted so strongly and shall we say, correctly. Utah always said "Power in the Union" was Joe Hill's best and he taught all of us to sing it as if it was. And when we were lucky enough to see him perform on a local stage, we came away with inspiration, information and a renewed commitment to tell the truth about the injustices of the world.

When Utah first had health problems and our band of Wobblies sent a small donation in kind, he sent us a sweet and sincere message on a cassette tape. It was the gesture of a true friend which he repeated whenever he visited, making the time to meet with us and talk about our common bonds and to catch up on the latest buzz inside the union.

We'll never forget his always agile mind and sharp tongue. There was that time when we toured the haunts of local women's labor hero, Kate Mullaney, who organized the first women's union local in the laundry trade in Troy, N.Y. When Utah heard about her life and struggles, he quipped, "Oh yeah- Kate Mullaney- wasn't it she who said 'don't iron while the strike is hot?'" That quote is now engraved at her gravesite monument.

Words cannot express our deep sorrow at Utah's passing, nor begin to reflect the gratitude for all he gave us, so generously. We vow to honor him and carry on his steadfast tradition of honoring his elders and keeping their memories and experiences alive, because the past has not gone anywhere.

Tap 'er light, you old stemwinder, keep a can on the fire for us and we'll see you in that jungle camp on the Great Divide.

For the One Big Union,
The James Connolly Upstate N.Y. Regional General Membership Branch - IWW

Ursula said...


Over the years I had many many chats with Utah... he was guiding me about a project I was working on about the IWW and the loggers.

I called Utah today just to hear his voice once again and the tears rolled down my face, I had always want to meet him.

Utah is with his friends Earl Robinson and Woody Guthrie all looking down with tears down their cheeks... a war is still here on Earth and they are not here to help those boys come home!

Utah will be missed... Doncan don't erase his message I would like to hear his voice again, tomorrow.

Ursula Richards-Coppola

lucky me said...

i was so inspired by your father words, especially on "my fellow workers". for months i have been planning a tattoo. the tattoo would consist of a mop and a broom in an X with the words, " the most dangerous woman in america" around it. im not sure why i have been putting this off, as i have wanted this tattoo for ages. i think the time has come.

peace and light to you and yours, lauren

AmyB said...

To all of Utah's family, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank you for sharing your Utah with all of us.
Sending you strength, Amy B.

OnTheBus said...

There is never enough time.
Time to grow, time to flow and time to know. The only time that is granted to us all is simply the time to go.

Bless you to your rest, Dear good Bruce and may peace be the journey to your family and friends everywhere.

Rest well good man.

Chris said...

Phillips family and friends,

I'm saddened to hear of Utah's death. I never met the man, but "discovered" him through his association with Ani Difranco. I'm one of the "new generation" of fans as the press likes to say. Utah was an inspirational figure to me. He opened my mind and heart to thoughts and opinions that I may not have paid attention to before. His humor and good nature made him feel like an old friend. He was definitely one of my "bank robber heroes" and will be missed.

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing Utah a couple of years ago at the Kate Wolf festival. His set was full of piss, vinegar an politics. After the set he stood by one of the great oaks on the corner of the stage and watched Rosalie Sorrels set. Admiring fans came up to greet him. Expecting a bit more interaction some left disappointed but he just stood there hands in pockets giving one word answers and looking down.

Anonymous said...

Dear Duncan and all of your family,

All of us at XM15 The Village send our condolences. We will have the honor of broadcasting a 90 minute special on the life of Utah Phillips on Saturday May 31st at 12noon ET and 9 AM Pacific across the US and Canada on XM15 The Village on XM Satellite radio. If you would like to listen for free go to: www.xmradio.com/villageoffer.

SATURDAY: Honoring Utah Phillips: Folksinger, Activist, Storyteller and more. Much more! Tune in for a 90 minute special honoring the life of Grammy-nominated Utah Phillips. Born May 15, 1935 in Ohio, he passed away in his sleep at 11:30 PM on May 23, 2008 in his home of 21 years; Nevada City, California. He was 1997 recipient of the Folk Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award. Airtimes: May 31st Saturday 12 noon ET, 9 am Pacific.

Mary Sue Twohy
XM15 The Village. Music Director

Anonymous said...

My soul is sad at the loss of U Utah Phillips. I grew up in Spokane. My Dad talked about him and his union organizing, and he admired Utah.

I'm going to make some moose turd pie, just to remember...

A voice for everyman, even those who never listened or heard...

I can't make the memorial, but I have the memories.

Dave Coulter said...

May the memories of the past buoy your spirits in the times to come.

I wanted to share this with you:


My sincere condolences...

Dave Coulter
Oak Park, IL

Michael Berman said...

His music and his good humor touched my heart. He was a great man.

Anonymous said...

when i was 12 years old i heard a Utah Phillips song that inspired me to try to lead a life of pacifism. i'm still working on it, but i know Utah's words are there to help guide me. i’ll never forget them.

Mark Schwebke said...

Happy Trails Utah...

cs said...

Holy Shit. What a funny guy! A very decent fellow, indeed. I watched a YouTube video in which Utah was describing his medical condition to an audience in I don't know where. He told the audience that he lived in a progressive, holistic, natural remedy kind of town. I laughed myself sick and to tears as he was describing the various hippy remedies! Pure comedy! He said something about someone offering to suspend him in water in the dark as part of a "sensory deprivation therapy." He said if he wanted to do that he could turn on a Leonard Cohen record! HAHAHAHA! LMAO!

Anyway... God Be With You, Utah and your family. Heaven will be much funnier now that you have arrived!

To Your Health Brother!

May We All Laugh Til We're Sick!


Santino and Betsy Scalici and Julian and James

TimeToShine said...

Aware that it's Utah Memorial Day, I made this on the road. My way of being there. I wholly celebrate a life lived to the full With Love..

Anonymous said...

It was just the middle of May that I was reading your blog to see how your father was doing and I was so pleased at that time to see that he was doing well as could be expected leaving the hope that he would have a long and productive 'retirement'. It broke my heart this morning to learn that he had hoboed on to new vistas.

I have been a volunteer for the Vancouver Folk Festival for twenty years and loved your dad's music, his laconic observations and was more than once left laughing on the grass by his oh-so-dry comments.

Though I resigned myself to his not being there this year, when I'm sitting under the willows this July (hopefully many more to come) and watching the sunset over the music making, I know I will feel his presence there too.

My hat is off to the memories of a truly inspirational man.


Anonymous said...

I heard Utah sing in the early 70's when I was a teenager attending folksong getaway weekends in Virginia with my folks. Utah's songs taught me to value the land and to value workers - and those without work, without anything. I still sing his songs - Why Don't You Bring My Dog Home Uncle Sam, Green Rolling Hills, Enola Gay ... Now I am a national volunteer leader with Sierra Club and I have worked on campaigns with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, United Steelworkers, and the Blue-Green Alliance (Blue=labor, Green=environmentalists) - Utah's songs are guideposts ...

I just lost my Dad on April 8th - he loved to sing - I sang him one of Utah's songs last time I visited him, in March. In my mind, me and my Dad are still singing along with Utah Phillips -

My condolences.

Marti Sinclair

conradfreedumb said...


I got home last night from dear old Nevada City and from the service. 14 hour to and fro and It was a great pleasure to pay my respects to a person I knew only through song. It has truly changed my life, once again. It took three tries but that rocket flew one last time.

Thank you.