October 16, 2006

The Clark Fork River lost a great friend recently with the sudden death of Phil Tourangeau, who died on September 28 following a massive heart attack.

Phil spent his entire career working as a scientist in public service. During much of the last two decades, he worked on Clark Fork River issues for a variety of organizations, including the Milltown Technical Assistance Committee, the predecessor to CFRTAC. Most recently he was a technical advisor to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

A memorial held October 14 at the Milltown Dam site honoring Phil, his work and his life was attended by dozens of friends, colleagues and family members.

A full obituary is included after the jump.

Phillip C. (Phil) Tourangeau, 63, died on Thursday, Sept. 28, at St. Patrick’s Hospital of complications from a severe heart attack.

Born October 31, 1942, in Syracuse, NY to Ruth Melrose Mahaney and Phillip Earl Staff0rd, his family moved west and lived in several locations before settling in Salt Lake City, where he graduated from South High School in 1960. His studies at the University of Utah were set aside for U.S. Army service in Germany from 1963 to 1966. Upon discharge he transferred his studies to the University of Montana in 1968 and has lived in Missoula since. He concentrated his studies in Biology and Chemistry and received a BA in 1971, with continuing graduate studies in Plant Science and Pollution Problems.

His life’s work was as a scientist in public service. He worked at the Environmental Laboratory at the University of Montana from 1973 to 1985, serving first as Technician and then as Manager. He was Staff Scientist at the Clark Fork – Pend O’reille Coalition from 1988 to 1992; Natural Resources Damages Coordinator for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes from 1993 to 1999 and 2001 to 2006. He was Natural Resources Damages Coordinator for the National Park Service – Grant Kohrs Ranch from 1999 to 2000. He was a member of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.

He dedicated himself to gathering reliable information for the public regarding the environmental conditions of the Clark Fork River Superfund Sites. His was a calm, reasoned, steady and determined force for bringing about environmental remediation and natural resource restoration at these sites, including removal of the Milltown Dam.

He loved to travel, often to Pacific Northwest cities. He loved to read, spending many hours in the U.M. Mansfield Library and in Missoula bookstores. In addition to personal family research his special interest was in the history of WWII and the post-war period and he had planned after retirement to visit Germany as a civilian and cross freely through the Brandenburg Gate. He was a good friend to many, all of whom will miss him deeply.

He is preceded in death by both natural parents and is survived by his brother, Ed Tourangeau (Pat) of Lafayette, IN, his stepfather Donald Tourangeau and sister Susan Patterson of Orlando, FL, and his niece Ann Tourangeau of Louisa, VA. At his death the North West Tissue Center facilitated the distribution of anatomical gifts.

Memorials may be made to the U.M. Mansfield Library (Attn: Memorial Donations).
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