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.