All gave some. Some gave all. Phillip Merino, a Korean War veteran who served during the Vietnam War era, passed on July 10, 2014. He was born October 3, 1953 and was a lifelong resident of Westport, Wash. Phil played sports all through school. He graduated from Ocosta High School in 1971, the same year his high school basketball team took the state championships – the first and last time ever such a victory occurred in the history of OHS.
Immediately following high school, Phil voluntarily joined the United States Army where he served as a Korean DMZ Imjin Scout until 1975. He was awarded numerous decorations before his honorary discharge in 1975. Upon his return, Phil attended the University of Las Vegas on a baseball scholarship and eventually came home where he played ball for the minor league baseball team, the Grays Harbor Ports. Both a left and right-handed pitcher, no one could throw a ball with the velocity that Phil Merino could…which perhaps is why the famed minor league team, the Portland Mavericks, also known on Netflix Television as The Battered Bastards of Baseball “stole” Phil from the Ports immediately following a game between the Ports and Mavericks. Bing Russell, owner of the Mavericks, “had to have the pitcher who was throwing like a rocket!” Phil’s contract with the Mavericks was later sold to the Minnesota Twins. Phil eventually left the baseball fields and took to the sea as a Washington crab commercial fisherman working alongside his brother Joe aboard the Merino fishing vessels, Pacific Dream and Pacific Dynasty.
Phil’s grizzly bear exterior housed an inner Gentle Ben that won the hearts of all who knew him. A legendary outdoorsman, fishing and hunting were a passion, and Phil often said he felt most at home “in the woods.”
Humble by nature, wild by spirit, kind by nature and loved by all, Phil will be remembered mostly for his multi-faceted athletic abilities and fierce loyalty toward family, friends and country.
Phil is survived by his parents Jim and Helen Carter of Chelan, Wash. Three brothers, and a sister: Frank Merino and his wife Deb of Graham, Wash., Joe Merino and his wife Roberta of Westport, Doug Merino and his wife Kay of Olympia, and Shelly Stamp and her husband Steve of Chelan, Phil also has numerous nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Phil’s life will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 27, 2014, at the VFW Hall, 211 Pacific Ave E., Westport, with a reception following in the hall. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to the Westport VFW Hall. To sign the online book of memories or to light a memorial candle please visit www.harrisonfamilymortuary.com
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Harrison Family Mortuary at 311 W. Market Street Aberdeen.