Philip H. Tobey, 80, of Hingham passed away peacefully at home on Thanksgiving morning November 26, 2020 from terminal renal disease.
Phil or “Pete,” as he was sometimes known, was born in Boston, MA in 1940 to Walter Philip Tobey, a stockbroker, and Martha Houser Tobey, a homemaker and accomplished sailor. Philip and his parents lived briefly in Boston near the Public Garden before moving to Chestnut Hill (Brookline), MA.
The family spent summers on Peach’s Point in Marblehead, MA, where Phil developed his life-long love of sailing. Under his mother’s tutelage, he learned to sail the family’s Herreshoff 12 ½ ft. wooden sailboat, Thistle, and piloted the boat in Marblehead sailing races. He went on to race in more competitive classes in an International 110 and later a Jollyboat, a racy craft that planed on its own bow wave. He belonged to the Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead for many years and served on its Historical Committee.
Phil attended the Dexter School in Brookline and graduated in 1958 from Milton Academy in Milton, MA. He was a lineman for the Milton varsity football team, coached by Herbert Stokinger. Phil also taught sailing at Camp Chewonki in Wiscasset, ME in 1958. As both a player and coach, Phil loved sports and prized good sportsmanship, a value he learned from his father.
Phil’s father died in 1955 when Phil was a teenager. Friends and neighbors rallied around the family following this tragic and unexpected loss. Throughout his life, Phil sought to follow his father’s principles of kindness, generosity, and good sportsmanship. When his widowed mother remarried in 1966, he acquired a stepfather, Vice Admiral John L. McCrea.
Phil graduated from Harvard University, his father’s alma mater, in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in Art History. While at Harvard, he competed for the Harvard Sailing Team. He participated in theatrical productions of the Hasty Pudding Club, following in the footsteps of his father, who played a polar bear in a 1912 Hasty Pudding production.
During the summer of 1960, Philip served as a Winant Volunteer in Shirehampton, England (near Bristol) as a counselor at a youth center. After Harvard, he earned master’s degrees in the School of Education at Boston University in 1964 and 1973.
Phil met his future wife, Solace Walker, at the wedding of a mutual friend, Chris Converse Jackson. Phil and Solace married in 1965 in Duxbury, MA and moved to Tampa, FL where Phil taught History and Social Studies at the Berkeley Preparatory School. The newlyweds returned to Massachusetts the following year, where Phil taught History and Social Studies at the Brown and Nichols School in Cambridge and Milton Academy. He also coached high school football at Berkeley and Milton. Starting in the 1980s, Phil worked as a technical writer for Teledyne Engineering, General Dynamics, and the Medical Information Bureau. He retired in 2001.
Phil was fascinated by the history of America’s Cup sailing, particularly the J-Class yachts of the 1930s. He corresponded with Sir Thomas Sopwith, aviator, and America’s Cup challenger in J-Boats Endeavour I & II. Phil also knew Olin Stephens, a naval architect and designer of the J-Boat Ranger. Philip sailed on the Endeavour II and Shamrock V in J-Boat regattas in Newport, RI, and Marblehead.
Phil and Solace moved to Hingham in 1970 and lived there for five decades. They were engaged in Hingham community life and valued their many friendships and connections there. They volunteered at the Old Ship Parish Coffeehouse, sang in the OPALS Chorus at the Hingham Senior Center, dined regularly at Star’s Restaurant, and enjoyed walking at World’s End Reservation and Weir River Farm.
Philip is survived by a daughter, Elizabeth M. Tobey of Greenbelt, MD; a son, Robert W. Tobey, of Cohasset, MA; and a sister, Julia C. Tobey, of New York City. His wife, Solace, pre-deceased him in 2018.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, a memorial service will be scheduled later.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to:
Wellspring, 814 Nantasket Ave., Hull, MA 02045
Herreshoff Marine Museum, PO Box 450, Bristol, RI 02809.
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