SAVANNA—Phillip W. DeSpain, 85, of Savanna, passed away Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, at FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport. Cremation rites have been accorded.

A private burial will take place at Oak Hill Cemetery in Mount Carroll, followed by a celebration of life from 4-7 p.m. Friday, July 3, at the Savanna Moose Lodge.

Memorials may be directed to Heartland Pet Welfare in Savanna. Family and friends are invited to share in Phil's life at

Phil was born July 4, 1934, in Ophelia, Kan., the son of Luther and Anna (Tanner) DeSpain. His family relocated to Mount Carroll when Phil was just 4 years old, where he grew up attending Mount Carroll schools. On June 28, 1952, Phil married Juliann Heath.

Phil worked for the Milwaukee Railroad until he became self-employed as a carpenter, working many of those years at the Galena Territory. It was while working at Galena Territory that he met and fell in love with Diana Roth. They later married on Nov. 2, 1990.

Phil was an avid sports lover and was a loyal fan of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears. He was an avid golfer, even coordinating the senior golf tournament for many years. Phil enjoyed spending time with his family and friends and boating on the Mississippi River. He was a great teacher/mentor to his children and many grandchildren.

Phil will be dearly missed by his wife, Diana DeSpain of Savanna; five children, Allan (Nancy) DeSpain of Savanna, Chris (Jack) Massie of Johnstown, Colo., Michelle Merboth of Caldwell, Idaho, Amy (Steve) Prowant of Savanna, and Heather Sager of LeClaire, Iowa; 13 grandchildren; and 29 great-grandchildren.

Phil was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Juliann DeSpain; son, Randy DeSpain; and 11 brothers and sisters.

"His life was gentle; and the elements so mixed in him, that Nature might stand up and say to all the world; this was a man!"