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Obituary Stories

Renaissance man had love for Westmoreland County

Joe Napsha
| Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, 5:33 p.m.
Phillip L. Engle, 71, of Youngwood died Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Westmoreland Manor, Hempfield.
Phillip L. Engle, 71, of Youngwood died Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Westmoreland Manor, Hempfield.

Chicago native Phillip Engle of Youngwood moved his family to Latrobe in the 1990s because he wanted to be near the Saint Vincent Basilica on the campus of Saint Vincent College in Unity.

“Phil was looking for a family-oriented community that had a college,” said his wife of 40 years, Nancy Engle.

In Latrobe, they purchased a home previously owned by the Bruderhoff Community, Nancy Engle said.

“We just loved that (Bruderhoff) community,” she said.

Phillip L. Engle of Youngwood died Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Westmoreland Manor, Hempfield. He was 71.

He was born July 15, 1947, in Chicago, a son of the late Jesse Bryce and Earle Jeane Suits Engle.

Mr. Engle studied speech and theater at Northwestern University. He earned his master’s degree at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where he did his master’s thesis on “group subjectivity.”

He met his wife, Nancy , while they both worked for the Social Security Administration, around 1977. He was a claims officer and she was a benefits officer in the same building. They were married in October 1978.

Mr. Engle was self-employed for many years. He had taught himself how to operate a computer, becoming a computer programmer, Nancy Engle said. He worked for a variety of companies, including Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield, from which he retired, Nancy Engle said.

Mr. Engle was an author of several books on general science, scapegoat theology, evolution and philosophy through his own imprint, Laurel Highlands Media.

“He bridged many disciplines. He was a Renaissance man,” said his sister, Jane Horner Weller of Culver City, Calif.

Mr. Engle “helped people write books, and he wrote books,” Nancy Engle said.

Mr. Engle had a lifelong interest in magic and was photographed in high school doing magic tricks, Weller said.

“He was excellent at sleight of hand tricks and cards,” as well as the trick that involves hiding a ball in one of three inverted cups of moving them around, Weller said.

She recalled how during a trip on an Amtrak train to Philadelphia, he entertained her by doing magic tricks all along the way.

He was serious enough about magic to join the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

Although he was a member of St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Greensburg, the Engles became part of the first Oblate families of St. Benedict at St. Vincent Archabbey, Nancy Engle said. The oblates choose to associate themselves with a religious community of Benedictines to strengthen their baptismal commitment and enrich their Christian way of life, without living in a monastery.

He also enjoyed going to Mount Saint Macrina near Uniontown. Mount Saint Macrina, according to his wife, is the site of the largest pilgrimage among Ruthenian Byzantine Catholics in North America.

In addition to his wife and sister, Mr. Engle is survived by four sons, David Sweeny, of Houston, Texas, Jonathan Engle of Oakland Park, Fla., Christopher Joel Engle, of Youngwood, and Pascal Isaiah Engle, of Pittsburgh; three daughters, Tamara Rachel Engle Miller of Wheaton, Ill., Anina Marielle Engle Palangio of San Bruno, Calif., and Maribeth Rose Engle Dumbaugh of Irwin; and nine grandchildren.

Friends were received at Leo M. Bacha Funeral Home, Greensburg. A funeral service was held Saturday, and interment was in Saint Vincent Cemetery, Unity Township.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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