Obituary of Philip Francis Rack Jr
Philip Francis Rack, Jr.
June 26, 1956-December 26, 2020
Phil Rack passed on to Heaven on December 26, 2020. He was at home in the arms of his wife, Cindy, when he passed away. While Phil was home with hospice care, he was attended by Cindy's daughters Adrienne and Carolyn. Cindy's son, Andrew, arrived shortly after to handle certain of Phil's affairs. Phil's brother Frank and nephew Collin came to Tucson and saw Phil every day. His sister Mary connected by Facetime.
Phil was born June 26, 1956 in Oak Park, Illinois. When he was young the family moved to Indiana. One of six siblings, Phil was especially remembered as a good big brother to his little sister Mary and younger brother Frank. Phil chose Ohio State University for his undergraduate studies and earned two degrees there, the first was a bachelor's in Demography. He joined the Theta Chi Fraternity. Both Ohio State and Theta Chi remained important to Phil throughout his life.
After he earned his bachelor's degree, Phil stayed on at OSU to pursue graduate coursework in sociology and statistics. There he made friends with a core group of students who were immediately drawn to his warmth, intellect and wit. When their lives took them in different directions, Phil made an effort to stay in touch, to take a genuine interest in their accomplishments, offer support through their disappointments, and extend sympathy for their tragedies. He demonstrated these qualities to many people over time.
Phil was known as highly intelligent but unassuming. He was an easy conversationalist, well informed by current events and made even more interesting by his own unique insights. Phil could find what was funny in just about anything, often with a playful view. His humorous remarks, frequently directed at himself, were followed by his distinctive and irresistible laugh.
Phil and Cindy Meet the First Time
Phil worked at SAS contract positions in the Detroit area in early 1980's. He had finished one role and planned to move back to Columbus when his recruiter convinced him to interview for an analytics and reporting position at the National Bank of Detroit. That interview was with Cindy. Phil's side of the story is that he decided to take the job no matter what because he found Cindy so attractive; during the interview he scarcely heard her plans to grow the department. They had an enjoyable relationship, both for business and for making bets on football games. Even then his sweet, funny and helpful character was so evident.
Skip forward to find Phil in Columbus, where he worked for a number of stellar organizations – the Ohio Department of Education, Merrill Publishing, JP Morgan Chase, Comerica Bank, M&T Bank. He was an expert in the use of SAS software for analytical purposes. His specialties were Finance, Education and Government, Wealth Management, and Operational Risk. In addition to his expert knowledge of the technical side of system and reporting requirements, he understood how data was used in organizations. He maintained these skills and his love of learning throughout his life.
Minequest Business Analytics
In 2009, Phil started Minequest Business Analytics. A company called World Programming out of the United Kingdom supplied the software and Minequest was one of only a few Authorized Resellers of the WPS software. Over the years Phil grew his business through customer relationships as well as development of his own software to use with the WPS system. One of Phil's outstanding abilities was technical problem resolution. He was respected by the founders of WP and admired by the staff. Phil was especially proud of the idea that when a discussion was held in London, the developers there would say "What would Phil say?".
In 2010, Linked In became a dating service! Phil contacted Cindy and they were married in Grand Rapids, Michigan on January 20, 2013.
Life in Tucson
The newlywed's life in Tucson began about that time, first with vacations, then a winter rental that led to a small snowbird condo. Following Carolyn's graduation, the Grand Rapids home was sold, and Phil and Cindy purchased a condo in Durango, Colorado. This was a beautiful location with the condo situated high on a bluff above a golf course. Phil took many beautiful pictures of the scenery, especially the elk herd on Christmas Day and the Steller's Jays that came to their balcony for seeds. Eventually it was time to consolidate in Tucson and live there full time, in a condo on a golf course in the Skyline Country Club. The mountains were very close.
Phil and Cindy had just about the perfect life. He made her breakfast every morning, and a steak dinner on Monday nights. They put in an outdoor kitchen and grilled most nights and were often able to eat meals outside on the patio. Phil loved hot tub soaks and the stars in the sky at night.
Phil worked in his home office; Cindy's desk looked out on the mountains. The commute was easy, and the VP of Facilities (Cindy) was diligent in her job. All the operations were overseen by Leo (the resident tabby cat) and Security was handled by Peter (a Russian blue). Phil made up adorable personalities for the cats and it was so much fun to create stories, letters and conversations for them.
Rock music was Phil's favorite genre, and he had a large music library. In his college days he made tapes for friends. Phil and Cindy attended concerts by some of the great oldies, this was one of their favorite activities: Jethro Tull, America, Tommy James and the Shondells, Alan Parsons Project, Eric Clapton, America, Chicago, Elton John, Gordon Lightfoot, Moody Blues, and their favorite, Three Dog Night.
In other media, Phil enjoyed Bloomberg News, Shark Tank, the Profit, watched Stuart Varney and Maria Bartiromo for business news every morning, and The Voice. Blake Shelton gave us the term "Ma Ma-an" (a favorite Phil nickname that could always make him smile) and "Merica."
Phil was intensely interested in his nieces and nephews lives and careers. His nephew Collin was very special as for quite some time Phil cared for Collin and Caitlyn when they were young children. They earned a special place in Phil's heart – he was a "best uncle". Phil told quite a few "Collin" stories from this era. Phil was quite fascinated by Cindy's son Andrew's entrepreneurial interests and sent him a number of books about how to start and run a business. Phil and Cindy's visit to Lexington, Kentucky to see the horse racing business was orchestrated by Cindy's daughter, Carolyn. When Carolyn wanted to become a teacher, Phil researched and learned about possible teaching opportunities. The Googler, Adrienne, created some deep conversations because Phil was pleased with her success even though he fretted about big tech. Every one of these young people can attest to Phil's special knack at gift giving, as he was always careful to research and find the perfect gift for each person and every occasion.
Phil and Cindy had many friends in Tucson. The Newcomers Club provided many opportunities to meet people. It is sad that in the last year these social events were so limited due to the covid pandemic. Phil deserved to have much more fun in what turned out to be his last year. Fortunately, Phil and Cindy had a wonderful getaway weekend at the Boulders in Scottsdale in October, which turned out to be beautiful, romantic, and fun. It was the last trip together.
In November Phil began to cough, seemingly related to allergies. He went to a doctor who diagnosed a sinus infection. Somehow less than two weeks later Phil was in the emergency room with pulmonary embolisms caused by Deep Vein Thrombosis. After 17 days in the ICU, it was time to bring him home.
A few final memories of those last days centered on having our Christmas tree for him to see, his view of Leo and comment "He's my buddy", lying on the hospital bed with his arm around me. He remembered my daughter and spoke at some length with her. He acknowledged his brother with a cute little finger waggle, a gesture very typical of Phil. It was a blessing Phil retained his mental faculties until the end.
How can such a huge hole ever be mended? Phil was the love of my life in all ways. He was a loving husband, faithful friend to many, best friend to me, expert in everything technical. He was smart and funny at the same time, with the most incredible wit to make me laugh every day. I love you, Phil Rack.
Phil will be buried in Resurrection Cemetery in Columbus Ohio, home of his well-loved Buckeyes and next to his parents. A public visitation and viewing will be held on January 20 from 10:30am to 11:30am at Schoedinger Worthington Funeral Home, 6699 North High Street, Worthington, OH. A funeral service (by invitation and RSVP only according to Covid-19 protocols) will be held later that day at church and immediate family will attend the burial at Resurrection Cemetery.
Phil's immediate family are his:
Parents Francis F. Rack, Sr. and Mary Ellen Rack (Collins), both deceased,
Brother Andre Rack (Ae Cha) of Virginia and children Michelle and Suzanne.
Sister Sue Rack Rogers (Richard) and children Chris, Jeff, Carmen and Michael.
Brother Francis Rack (Ginny Adams) of Hilliard and children Collin and Caitlyn.
Sister Mary Ellen Williamson (Mark) of Michigan and children Michelle, Marcia, Marianne and Monica.
Brother Jeff Rack (Katrina) and children Chase, Cole, and Kayla.
Phil's children of the heart are Cindy's children:
Adrienne Buhmann (Brendan) and children Cara, Michaela and Juliana.
Andrew Cooper (Ally)
Carolyn Cooper (Zach)
In lieu of flowers, remembrances are requested to go to the scholarship that Phil established at OSU:
The Dr. Wen-Lang Li Fund for Academic Excellence in Sociology Donations can be made online at http://give.osu.edu/philiprack
or checks can be mailed to:
The Ohio State University Foundation
PO Box 710811
Columbus, OH 43271-0811
Please add the fund number 316768 on the memo line of the check.
The fund provides an annual $500 scholarship to an undergraduate student for a well written, intriguing and thought-provoking paper on demographic and population issues. This fund reflects Phil's love of OSU, together with his dedication to research and learning.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Philip Rack Jr, please visit Tribute Store