The Passing of Phil Willis

30 Jun 2019 11:11 PM | Debby Farley (Administrator)

The Passing of Phil Willis

Sept. 8, 1948 – June 26, 2019

Phil Willis passed away the morning of June 26th  very peacefully. 

Phil got into falconry around 1962-63, and was an early member of GLFA. Over the years, he held the positions of Director and President on the GLFA Board. He was influential in the Chicago Peregrine Release Project, but limited his involvement due to his objection of mixing genes of the various peregrine subspecies for breeding and releasing of their progeny, which he referred to as “mongrels.” He felt strongly that only pure-blood anatum peregrines should have been utilized for recovery efforts.

Phil was very involved in pursuing the delisting of the peregrine in Illinois on behalf of GLFA. Phil, along with Rob Sulski, deserves the lion’s share of credit for getting the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board to finally accept the reality that peregrines were fully recovered. This was no easy task and it took many years to accomplish, long after it was federally delisted.

Phil served in the U.S. Army and spent time in the Viet Nam conflict with many stories to tell – some funny, some not. As a matter of fact, Phil was never short on telling stories, and I don’t necessarily mean “fish stories.” His falconry adventures were too numerous to recall but you were sure to hear some of them every time you spent a little time with him – and they were always interesting.

He was extremely knowledgeable of falconry and raptor breeding; and what a memory for details! I was always amazed on how much detail he could recall on all things related to raptors. He was like an encyclopedia. 

He will truly be missed by many.

Rest in peace my friend!

Bill Murrin

Services will be held at:

Glueckert Funeral Home

1520 N. Arlington Heights Rd.

Arlington Heights, IL60004


July 10th 3:00 PM to 8 PM

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