Phil Mervin's father was born in Britain and immigrated to Canada on his own at age 14. Due to various disagreements in the family, the only two sons in the family left England - one to Canada and one to Australia. The two brothers never saw each other again.
Phil's father joined the Canadian army and was sent to Europe during World War II. He met Phil's mom at an army dance in Aldershot, a British army town, and they married in 1942. His father was sent on a military campaign to Italy and Sicily and was wounded and sent to recover in Malta and North Africa for a year. Phil was born during his tour of duty and he was 14 months old before he met his father.
After the war, his father returned to Canada and Phil and his mother followed in 1947. Phil attended school and university in Canada where he majored in English and German and eventually studied accounting through New York City Business College.
Phil met his wife when they both worked for the Canadian Pacific Hotel at Lake Louise. At that time, the hotel was only open in the summer months and run by mainly students. It was a summer job for both of them during college.
After college, they moved to the Bahamas where Phil worked for Sheraton Hotels for 18months. In 1969 he applied to Westin International Hotels and began his career with Westin at The Bayshore in Vancouver. For the next 30 years he worked out of the international corporate office based in Seattle but living internationally for part of that time. He was responsible for internal audit for part of his career and ultimately had financial and administration responsibility for properties in South Africa, Germany, Malta, Mexico and Asia.
Phil has three sons - one of the boys was born in Canada and two were born in South Africa.
Phil took early retirement in 1999 after 30 years. As an adjunct to full retirement, Phil consulted in both hotel and banking industries but then only travelled domestically. This work took him to Denver where he consulted with First Tennessee Bank out of Memphis at their credit card processing center.
He finally completely retired in 2002 and went back to England to look after his 90 year old aunt. Following her passing at age 94 he decided to stay in London and began several volunteer positions with charitable agencies supporting people with health issues related to HIV. These agencies provided support in housing, medical services and counseling services to underprivileged and sometimes homeless individuals as well as funding medical research in the greater London area.
During his time in London Phil commuted often to Seattle to visit family. In 2011 he made the decision that it was time to return to Seattle permanently and began looking for permanent housing here. After several months of frustration in trying to find suitable housing, a friend of Phil's spotted the Hilltop House sign on the parking garage at Boren and Broadway. He called, came in and interviewed and realized he had found what he was looking for. Luckily an apartment came available in early 2012 and Phil flew back to England, closed up his affairs and moved into Hilltop House.
In his initial intake interview for Hilltop House Phil indicated an interest in keeping busy and volunteering. Thanks to a referral from Darla, he immediately became acquainted with Craig Darling, Executive Director of Companis Mission Workers Association and has been involved with that organization ever since.
Phil volunteers as the Office Manager for Companis four days a week and he also works with The Pride Foundation one day a week assisting with database management. He says "It is a marvelous experience working with Companis and to be able to be a part of an organization that provides essential services to those in need in our community. I look forward to getting up every morning and being part of the Companis team."
All three of Phil's sons and their families live in the Seattle area. One works for Microsoft, one is with Paccar and one is an independent film producer. Phil is able to spend a lot of time with his sons and their families which include four grandchildren - three boys and one girl.
Phil loves traveling, both domestic and international, the symphony, theatre, classical music and museums - especially the National Gallery in London. He travels to Phoenix often to spend time with extended family.
It is such a treat to have Phil here at Hilltop House with his wicked sense of humor and his yearning for a new adventure, balanced by the fact that he is a very kind man with a strong sense of humanitarianism. We are grateful you are here!
(This article appeared on the Hilltop House, Seattle website)