Rochester/Conesus Lake: Philip F. Spahn, Jr., a prominent Rochester attorney, passed away Monday, April 13, 2015 in Caledonia, NY at age 68 years. Phil lived most of his adult life off East Avenue, Rochester, NY, where he enjoyed a structured regime, the collecting of treasured artifacts, and over a 1,000 volume library. Over the past 30 years, when he was not entertaining out of his home on Buckingham Street, he continued to summer at his 1930’s era cottage on Conesus Lake in much the same manner as during his youth. He practiced enjoying the sun, the water, fine food, libation, and predominately the daily excursions in one of his antique boats, the favorite being a 1925 Dodge Watercar: “Suzee Q”.
Phil grew up in Irondequoit earning school letters in lacrosse and wrestling, socializing, and building and racing cars. From very early on he had an obsession with history and was fortunate to land a job with C.P. Ward, an historic locally owned heavy construction company where he worked after high school and while an undergraduate at Hobart College. This job was a formative event in Phil’s early adventures of which he talked and reminisced throughout his lifetime.
Phil attended Syracuse University School of Law, graduating in the top of his class. He also served in the US Army during this period. After passing the bar, Phil proudly joined the law firm of Fix, Spindelman, yet another historical institution (est. 1851) that boasted a rich history and tradition. He developed a strong alliance with his mentor, Norm Spindelman. Phil made partner at the firm and remained there until it merged with another firm in 2013. His love of the law was not in the practice itself but rather the art of negotiating and the interaction with his peers and clients, many of whom became close friends. In the last few years, Phil happily reconnected with Dick Ash, C.P. Ward owner, and, as a consultant, helped research and outline the history of the 100 year old company, for which Phil had not only toiled but studied and admired as well.
Over his lifetime, Phil made a memorable impact on a wide array of people. His friends and peers found him entertaining, interesting, and extremely intelligent. His wit, near perfect memory and attention to detail were extremely sharp. He never hesitated to share his knowledge of a topic, especially as it related to local geography, architecture, literature, music, even adamantly when necessary “A good story is always worth a little embellishment.” He was an accomplished writer, mason, mechanic, conversationalist, story teller, cook, historian and friend. Phil had the gift of being able to relate with all different types of people on all different levels, anywhere and at anytime, regardless of other pressing matters before him.
He loved the Genesee Valley, the Finger Lakes, and the Adirondacks, and practically anywhere else on the water. During the fall he often visited Boston, Washington DC, New York and later San Diego to name a few. Although these venues brought the pleasure of a destination his favorite part was to travel by car, with stops at historic inns and tap rooms, restaurants and grills along the way and talking with the people who ran them and learning their history. Mostly he loved all things nautical and a perfect cocktail, especially the taking of a “smart cocktail” on the veranda. Phil loved music, especially Frank Sinatra, James Brown, Ray Charles and The Rolling Stones, and a good cigar. Truly one could say his knowledge of popular music and its roots and history was nothing short of phenomenal. You could often hear him say that he “was the hardest working man in show business” and on many levels he was. His work ethic at times was ferocious.
Phil is survived by his loving companion Sue Halpin, protégé Steven C. (Rachelle) Martini, siblings Thomas (Karen) Spahn, and Christine (Dan) Howland as well as several close friends and numerous acquaintances.
Friends are invited to gather at the Yard of Ale, 3226 Genesee Street, Rte 63, Piffard, NY 14533 on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 12noon to remember and hoist a toast to Phil. Flower arrangements are welcomed and memorial contributions in memory of Phil may be made to the Dodge Boat Association at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Conesus Lake Association, 5828 Big Tree Rd, Lakeville, NY 14480. Arrangements entrusted to the Kevin W. Dougherty Funeral Home Inc., Livonia-Honeoye. To send a condolence and for further information please visit: