Philip S. Wilcox

Date of Birth

November 7, 1931

Date of Death

October 30, 2021

City of Death

Montecito, CA

Native Santa Barbaran and lifelong resident, PHILIP SCOTT WILCOX, died peacefully at his Montecito home on October 30, 2021, a week shy of his 90th birthday. Born at Cottage Hospital, November 7, 1931, to Dr. Alfred Bulkeley Wilcox and Marguerite Bone Wilcox, he attended Roosevelt School, La Cumbre Junior High and Santa Barbara High School (Class of ’48), where he was editor of The Forge. At age 16 he went to Stanford University, earning both undergraduate (BA 52) and law (LLB 54) degrees, followed by two years in the US ARMY stationed in California and France.

Returning to Santa Barbara in 1956, he began his 39 years of legal practice, first with Clarence Rogers in the old Carrillo Adobe and subsequently with close friend Bill Gordon, and the last 23 years with Mullen and Henzell. In 1958 he married the love of his life, Sally Fernamberg, of Wauseon, Ohio, who survives him, as do their 3 children, James Scott Wilcox (Lisa), Sara Anne Wilcox and Charles Philip Wilcox, all of Santa Barbara, with grandchildren; JP (James Philip) Wilcox and Jenna Wilcox. Philip is also survived by his sister Alita Wilcox Rhodes (Don) and brother Jonathan Wilcox – along with many nieces and nephews; Paul Wilcox (Kira), Heather Wilcox, Chris Rhodes, Jesse Rhodes, Marybeth Rhodes Woodruff (Matt), Lauren Wilcox Schmitz (George), Daniel Wilcox-Free (Laura), and Megan Wilcox-Free. His brother Douglas Wilcox and wife Yvonne preceded him in death.

Phil’s “memorable achievements” include presidencies of the Santa Barbara Foundation, Family Service Agency, Sansum Medical Research Foundation, and other officer/director positions with the Cottage Health Institutional Review Board, Montecito Library, Montecito Association and the Montecito Union School Board. He was an active and life-long member of All Saints By The Sea Church. After retirement Phil enjoyed numerous Adult Education classes studying Shakespeare, music and poetry. He also volunteered at Cleveland School in the reading program.

Sally and Phil traveled extensively on nearly all continents in their 63 years together, motivated frequently by her devotion to hiking and his to theater and poetry, particularly Shakespeare and WB Yeats. Phil (“I am a poet in my mind”) was an enthusiastic actor from an early age, appearing in some fifteen local productions, notably as the fool, “Feste”, in Twelfth Night and the “Reverend Hale” in The Crucible.

As Phil once wrote, “Being blessed with a wonderful family and the chance to spend my life in Santa Barbara has been a gift for which the most profound thanks would not do justice”. What mattered most to him was his love of family and his wide range of friends.

Memorial services to be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Hillside House of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Strings, the Grace Fisher Foundation, or VNA/Hospice.


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