Phil Mininger, 72, of Paoli, IN, passed away at home on April 26, 2023, with his family surrounding him, after a long, painful battle with cancer.
Phil was born on October 29, 1950, in Hatfield, Pennsylvania to Eleanor & Joseph Mininger. The majority of his adolescence was spent in Harman, West Virginia alongside his 7 other siblings. After Phil graduated high school in 1968, he went on to study political science and sociology at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He met his wife, Mary Kauffman Mininger, at this same University and they went on to have 4 children, Marijohn Mininger Mosemann, Annie Mininger, Adriel (stillborn son), and Caroline Mininger. Marijohn brought her husband Dave Mosemann, and two sons into the family circle, Jake and Hank, his dearly loved grandsons.
After college, Phil and Mary moved to Macon, Mississippi with Mennonite Board of Missions, and led a voluntary service unit with a focus on community development and civil rights work, specifically advocating for health, education, voting, and improved housing. They remained there for 10 years, building community and meaningful relationships rooted in service, respect, and LOVE.
In 1988, the family moved to Elkhart, Indiana so that both Phil and Mary could attend the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary to study for a Masters of Divinity. Soon after, Phil became Associate Pastor of Belmont Mennonite church until he, Mary, and Caroline moved to Paoli, Indiana in 1998.
Phil and Mary co-pastored at Paoli Mennonite Fellowship for 13 years until 2011.
Phil had a gift for creating beauty and community wherever he went. Coming from a long line of craftspeople, Phil valued the quality of and connection to items made directly by human hands. As a finish carpenter, he restored antique furniture, built houses from the ground up, mentored many within the building trades, and held the position of President for the Orange County Habitat for Humanity Organization, and led its development over many years.
Phil genuinely cared for his community and he led by serving others. In 2008, he was awarded the Orange County Philanthropist of the Year. In 2022, he was named Grand Marshal of the Paoli Fall Festival parade by the Paoli Chamber of Commerce.
In his everyday life, Phil built beautiful stone benches, stone fences, and elaborate garden entrances. He was a master gardener, a fruit tree grower, and an antique apple cider press restorer. He was an amazing storyteller, an optimist in any weather, and easily brought people together.
Part of what made Phil unique was that he was a calming presence as well as a powerful force. He was a peacemaker with a revolutionary edge. He was a practical do-er and an artist & dreamer.
Phil made people feel like they mattered. He made love tangible by creating beauty with his hands and being truly present with people. Phil was love and kindness.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 17th, at 3pm at the Paoli High School Auditorium. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Orange County Habitat for Humanity.
For condolences, please visit his Caring Bridge website at https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/philmininger. Arrangements by McAdams Mortuary.
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