Sad news to report.
Community activist Phillip Rush died suddenly two days ago from a pulmonary embolism.
A mutual friend, Jim Durrett of the Livable Communities Coalition, told me the news this morning.
The last time I saw Phillip was when I ran into him during the Atlanta Dogwood Festival. He was sitting down watching the crowds of people walk by. We spoke for a few minutes, and I never would have guessed that it would be the last time we would see each other.
Phillip was one of those folks I would just run into — at the movie theater or at a restaurant or at a community meeting. He always had an opinion or a intriguing perspective on what was happening in our town.
Phillip Rush, 55, had worked at the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta for nearly 15 years as a program officer until this past March when he was laid off due to cutbacks at the non-profit. He then started his own firm — Next Incarnation — to work with non-profit organizations.
The best word to describe Phillip was community. He was a strong gay rights activist who in Atlanta, serving as the Community Foundation’s Lesbian & Gay Funding Initiative for Youth from 1994 to 1999; and working on the National Lesbian & Gay Community Funding Partnership Advisory Committee from 1994 to 2005.
But his community work was all-encompassing — ranging from urban design to public participation to uplifting the poor.
There will be a memorial gathering for Phillip on Friday evening, May 1, at Frogs Cantina in Midtown.