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The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

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February 3, 2023

1/17/2023 5:29:00 AM
Phillip John Root

Phillip John Root, age 71 of Minocqua, passed away on Jan. 11, 2023 at Rennes Health and Rehab in Rhinelander. Phil was born Jan. 20, 1951, in Wauwatosa, the son of Virginia B. and Leslie Root. He graduated from Wauwatosa East High School with the class of 1969 and went on to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1973.

Soon after college, Phil made his way back "Up North" to Rhinelander and Minocqua. His love of the Northwoods came from spending his summers as a youth at the Camp American Legion in Lake Tomahawk with his family. His father volunteered as Chief of Corrective Therapy and organized volunteers to provide services. From the experience at a very young age interacting with disabled veterans, Phil learned compassion and empathy. Those traits carried on through his whole life. Many friendships and great memories were made from those summers. He often said he wouldn't have wanted to spend his summer vacation any other way. Although he was raised a "city boy" his heart belonged in the Northwoods, where he settled and made Minocqua his lifelong home.

Phil co-founded the Golden Karat Jewelers, where he proudly served the Northwoods for 40+ years. The motto he followed was to be trustworthy, loyal and devoted. It proved to carry him a long way as a successful business owner. In addition to building his business, Phil was involved in, and cared deeply for, the community.

Phil found the love of his life Virginia "Ginny" and they were united in marriage on Oct. 4, 1986. Along with this marriage, Phil naturally and gracefully took on the role as a bonus Dad to Ginny's three young children.

In 1987, Phil and Ginny welcomed their son Phillip John Root II "PJ" and three years later their daughter Tiffany was born. Phil was endlessly proud of all of his children. He was a devoted father who made his children top priority. No matter the activity or sport, like dance recitals, Phil was the loudest cheerleader in the crowd. With his signature whistle, his kids always knew it was Dad cheering them on.

He never waivered in his commitment to his family and always instilled optimism and kindness in his lessons.

With his spirit, passion and gusto for life, Phil was truly a unique and wonderful man.

Phil's passion was collecting vintage corvettes and would take one son at a time to the Bloomington car shows. His boys still reminisce fondly of those trips.

Phil was well educated and well-known for his knowledge of classic corvettes and his collection of rare NOS parts. Phil was a sun worshiper and loved living on the lake.

Some of his best days were spent towing his kids behind the boat or taking a pontoon ride through the Lake Minocqua channel.

Phil is preceded in death by his mother Virginia B. Root, his father Leslie Root and son James Huempfner.

He is survived by his wife Ginny Root; son PJ Root, daughter Tiffany (Josh) Root, daughter Tricia Peck, son Rich (Randy) Huempfner, grandson Brett Huempfner and granddaughter Braylee Huempfner and by his sister Patricia Salentine, nephew Mike (Mallory) Salentine and nieces Erin Salentine and her son Jordan Michael, Shannon Salentine (Brandon Warner) and their children Kade & Sienna, Kelly Salentine (Kurt Egle) and their children Rowan and Willow.

He is further survived by many other nieces, nephews, and great friends that have become family.

Special thank you to the incredible staff at Rennes that truly became Phil's second family.

Join us for a casual gathering to share stories and celebrate the life of Phil on Saturday, Jan. 21 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Nimsgern Funeral Home Chapel.

Donations in honor of Phil can be made to Camp American Legion of Wisconsin:

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