Year of Birth: 1972
Date of Death: April 15th, 2023

Cory was born to Brenda Barry and Wallace Phillips, following close on the heels of his brother and sister and was raised in the lower mainland. His paternal grandparents had a hand in raising him; he told stories of the tall stilts his granddad made for him, and how granddad taught him to ride a too-big bike in the driveway by building a special step to launch from and land on, before his feet could reach the ground.

His high school days took him to 9 different schools in 5 years; he came out of that with a love of punk rock and some solid friends like Aaron, who stuck by him for the rest of his life. With his mother’s discerning taste, and his father’s sense of humour he made his own way in the world.

Through early adulthood he tried his hand at many a career, resting for a while at a cedar mill, where he trained to be a lumber grader, driving construction waste roll-off bin trucks, professional moving crew foreman, …and Tim Hortons drive-through clerk, not in that order.

After some dark years following his mother’s death he reconnected with friends and family in recovery. From that point onward, healing and seeking became the compass of his life. He grew a spiritual and meditative practice that ebbed and flowed through the rest of his life.

Through his seeking he found the VCC program in counseling which led to outreach work in the downtown east side. This work fed his soul for his last 12 years. He brought his whole self to work with community members in need, meeting them where they were at, whether it was finding permanent housing, a spot in detox, a bed for the night, a coffee, or a good laugh. He listened when others would not, and let people know they mattered.

At age 44 he met Claire at a meditation centre, and at 47 became a father to Monte. She lit up his world; he was wholly taken by her presence, and their connection was deep and genuine. He was a fun and playful daddy, always up for a game of hide and seek, or “scary Harry.” His pancake breakfast was unparalleled, and he would regularly serenade her with his guitar.

His last years also presented him with some difficult mental health challenges and to manage he turned to a rigorous spiritual practice of his own making. He’d often prepare for challenging times with meditation, smudging, and Portuguese hymns, sitting on his cushion sometimes for hours at a time. He found solace in the sun, on his bike and by the water: he was solar powered, ever youthful, and never wore a drop of sunscreen.

He will be dearly missed by his daughter Monte, partner Claire, brother Adrian, sister Kim, best friend Aaron and countless cousins, nieces, family and friends.

Celebration to honour Cory on Tuesday, June 20 at 2:00 pm at the Japanese Hall, 475 Alexander St., Vancouver. This is an inclusive event. ALL are welcome.
Cory Phillips
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3 months ago

I only met Cory twice at the UGM shelter, but by attending his celebration of life today I got to see a beautiful man. I am deeply sorry Cory is not alive to saranade you on his guitar, Monte. I am sad that Cory will not be there to comfort you co-parent. God bless you.

3 months ago

Cory will be deeply missed by his Brazilian (Portuguese hymns) Spiritual Family. He was known for his kind heart, bright smile and profound willingness to show up and dive deep in his spiritual works. He explored his trauma so openly and shared so vulnerably and honestly about his process. A true inspiration and caretaker of the soul-wounded. Rest in Power until we meet again, Brother 🙏🏼💖🌸

Heidi Klassen
Heidi Klassen
3 months ago

I knew Cory for 10+ years during his employment on the “mean streets” of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. My immediate reaction upon meeting him was what a genuine and lovely human he was and what a fine colleague and employee I thought he would be. My instinct proved correct as he was all these things and more. His compassion and ability to see the value in those he served were unparalleled and his mentorship beneficial to others. He continued to explore who he was and wanted to be as a person and took positive steps to achieve his goals despite his setbacks and struggles. Cory was refreshingly honest about where he’d come from and where he was. The conversations were always refreshing and enlightening and I felt a learned so much from him over the years.

He LOVED coffee and doughnuts. Coffee was a must have to start his day and in my experience he demanded the best. “I want to be able to taste the bean” he would say dismissing one coffee chain after another until he found his perfect spot. I have also known Cory to eat “several” doughnuts at a time but lost count eventually. I will always remember the time Cory was in my life and will think of him often when I find that perfect cup of coffee.

Last edited 3 months ago by Heidi Klassen
2 months ago

Cory and I both started working at Lookout as Outreach workers around the same time. We were just located on opposite sides of Vancouver Harbour. Often I would bump into Cory when stopping by the Al Mitchel Shelter. He ALWAYS had a large SMILE on his face and was so welcoming and easy to converse with. A real team player! He is missed immensely. Blessings and Peace to all of his family and friends. ❤️

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