Phil W Kaufman aged 90 of Rockville, Maryland who departed us on May 30, 2015 succumbing suddenly but peacefully to heart failure while traveling to a dinner engagement with family near his home.
He was born February 22, 1925 in a small town hospital, no more than a modest house, in Kendallville, Indiana to Frank Kaufman, the local druggist, and Veda (Knight) Kaufman. He grew up there with older sister Mary Jane (d) and many lifelong friends who still live there today. Their childhood antics, foibles and exploits he memorialized in his self-published book “Memories of an Indiana Boyhood” colorfully depicting small town America in the 1920’s and 30’s. Phil graduated high school early eager to join the WWII war effort serving with the US Navy as a radioman monitoring German submarines in the North Atlantic. This activity was later revealed to have produced invaluable information fed to Turing machines (Enigma decoders) in Bletchley Park, England much hastening the end of the War as told in the recent “Imitation Game” book and film.
After the War he married Betty Ruth Fairbank (d) of Iowa City, Iowa while studying under the GI Bill and graduated in journalism from the University of Iowa. They went to Washington, DC where he studied political science at American University and began work in what was to become the US Information Agency. Phil, Betty and their first son Scott Craig then deployed to Henley-on-Thames, England embarking on a career in political liaison and intelligence that spanned the cold war era. Their second son Mark Alan (d) was born in England and Phil’s career took him back and forth between the US and England with third son Jeffrey Wayne (d) born in the US between tours. Near the end of his career Betty sadly predeceased him.
His long association with England developed in Phil an abiding love and admiration for the British people, country and culture. Upon retirement he returned to England and there he met his new life partner Pamela Blank (surviving) and stayed on for 33 years to live a comfortable life of leisure; playing golf and snooker and making more abiding friendships in the Suffolk countryside of fields and thatched roof cottages. Never neglecting his American friends and family there were frequent visits to the US, both to his hometown in Kendallville and to Maryland to be involved as his children raised seven grandchildren and they in turn brought six great-grandchildren.
Fascinated with Anglo-American connections he visited churches throughout Suffolk each with a connection to both worlds going back to the original American colonies and before. He documented them first as Christmas cards and then as a lovely color book, “American Traces in Anglian Places” full of detail illuminating the history of both countries.
Failing health brought him back to America in his final year where he enjoyed a brief resurgence, had more quality time with family, and enjoyed watching his favorite Nationals baseball team get off to a good start. He is survived by one son, Scott, and his sister’s two children, Pamela and Jim and all his grand and great-grandchildren and grandnieces.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, August 2, 2015 at 2pm at the Brookeville Academy, 5 High St., Brookeville, MD 20833.
Burial will take place in September in the Lakeview Cemetery in Kendallville, Indiana. Memorials may be made to the White House Farm Foundation in support of preservation for the historic 1790 Kaufman settlement house and farm in the Massanutten Settlement of the Shenandoah Valley.
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