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    • #23278
      Bill Johnston

      Phil was an active WW paddler in the 70’s and 80’s. Some of the ‘old timers’ may remember him.

      Philip Klabunde

      WILMINGTON – Philip “Phil” Klabunde, age 87 of Wilmington passed away peacefully at his residence on April 24, 2022.

      Born on April 7, 1935 in Niagara Falls, NY to the late Walter and Harriet Klabunde, Phil

      was very active within his community and obtained his Eagle Scout designation at a young age. Husband of Betty for the last 65 years together the couple raised their four sons. Phil made a long time career as a Chemical Engineer and obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

      Throughout his life, Phil was actively involved in many organizations and activities to include serving as an assistant scoutmaster, member of the Wilmington Trail Club, the Delaware Nature Society and a charter member of the Delmarva Ornithological Society, Past President of the American Turners of Delaware, Volleyball Referee and National Coordinator of the Senior Olympics.

      When not volunteering his time within the community, Phil could be found canoeing, kayaking, being a raft guide or spending time with his beloved wife and family.

      Phil is survived by his loving wife Betty Klabunde (nee Adams) and his four children Peter and his wife Paula; Kevin and his wife Julie; Gregory and his wife Robin along with his son Andrew. Additionally Phil is survived by his seven grandchildren Ian (Heather); Scott; Eileen (Kevin); Riley, Ethan; Sarah and Allyson along with his great-granddaughter Layla.

      A visitation will be held on Friday May 6, 2022 at the Doherty Funeral Home located at 3200 Limestone Road, Wilmington where the family will receive friends and guests from 5pm-7pm. A memorial service will immediately follow.

      A celebration of life will be held at a later date at the Delaware Turners Club located at 701 S. Clayton Street in Wilmington.

      In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made in Phil’s honor to a charity of your choice.

      To offer condolences, please visit:

    • #23279
      Jack Frankosky

      Many of my first experiences in a kayak have ties to Phil Klabunde. I learned to roll through his (and others’) efforts. He ran WTC pool sessions.

      My early struggle with rolling was related to my inability to stay in the boat. He added padding to sides of the seat of an already really small kayak (for 1975) to help keep me from falling out. I’ve been in between swims since…

      A few years later, through Phil, was my introduction to raft guiding. My short “career” guiding on the Lehigh started before I had a driver’s license; So, Phil was my ride to and from work for the weekend. He not only guided, he seemed to know EVERYONE who kayaked and coordinated their participation as guides for Whitewater Challengers.

      Since then, it was always a pleasure to see Phil and catch up for a moment.

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