Philip Ton Gravink, 85, of Saco, Maine, died Oct. 9, 2020.
Phil was born to Maybelle and William Gravink on their dairy farm in Clymer, N.Y., in 1935. He graduated from Clymer Central School in 1953, then attended Cornell University, where he was a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity and was elected president to the Ag School’s senior honorary. Later Phil attended several short courses at Harvard Business School.
At Cornell, Phil stroked the crew to four National Championships and won the Brand Challenge Cup gold medal at the Henley Royal Regatta in England as well as the European International Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland. The crew was named to the Helms Foundation National Hall of Fame for Amateur Athletes and the National Rowing Hall of Fame. In 1978, Phil was named to the Cornell Athletics Hall of Fame and recently was inducted into the Chautauqua Sportsman’s Hall of Fame. After college, Phil and his wife Shirley returned to Clymer and partnered with his father on the family dairy farm. He became a member of the Chautauqua County Planning Board and president of the County Extension Service, served on the Clymer Central School Board and was a deacon of Abby Reformed Church.
In 1963, Phil co-founded Peek’n Peak Ski Area, a few miles from their farm, where he served as GM and COB until 1976. He then became the GM of Gore Mountain in the Adirondacks. A year later, Sherman Adams named him president and GM of Loon Mountain in Lincoln, N.H., where he remained until 1991. He consulted for Sno Engineering, then was appointed director of Skiing for the State of New Hampshire, overseeing operations at Mount Sunapee and Cannon Mountain. Soon thereafter, Phil became president and CEO of Attitash during which time Attitash merged with Sunday River. He also oversaw operations at Cranmore Mountain for one year.
Throughout his career, Phil served as director and officer of numerous trade organizations including presidential terms for Ski Areas of New York, Ski New Hampshire, National Ski Areas Association and The American Ski Federation. For his service, he was awarded the NSAA Lifetime Achievement award, NSAA Sherman Adams Award, BEWI Service to the Ski Industry Award, Mount Washington Valley Treasure Award and the Bob Morrell Award.
In 2012, Phil was inducted into the National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.
Phil sincerely believed that community service was an obligation of those who could give and served on several boards, including the Littleton Hospital, Littleton Savers Bank, Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, MWV Economic Council, MWV Chamber of Commerce, Jackson Ski Touring, NH Alpine Racing Association, Friends of Tuckerman Ravine and the New England Ski Museum. He was a founding member of the Lincoln Planning Board and is a Lifetime Trustee of the Mount Washington Observatory.
Phil served terms as moderator, treasurer and chairman of the Building Committee for the Jackson Community Church. After his retirement in 1999, he and his wife Shirley joined the group Odyssey 2000 and spent a year biking around the world, covering 15,000 miles and 48 countries. Phil referred to this as a life-changing experience and was able to raise over $70,000 for Northeast Passage, a rehabilitation organization through sports, founded by their daughter Jill and for the New England Ski Museum.
Phil was an avid fly fisherman, skier and distance cyclist. The Gravinks traveled in all 50 states and 60 countries, but Phil most enjoyed time with his family and friends at their camp on Sebago Lake.
Phil is survived by Shirley Damon Gravink of Saco, Maine, his loving wife of 64 years. Son, Bradley Gravink of Clymer, N.Y.; his two children, stepson and one grandchild. Daughter, Brenda Dimick (husband Todd) of Plymouth, N.H, their four children and two grandchildren. Daughter Jill Gravink (wife Cathy Clermont) of Nottingham, N.H .And all others who knew and loved him.
For those wishing to make memorial contributions in Phil's memory, please consider Northeast Passage Gravink Family Fund at 121 Technology Drive, Durham, NH 03824 or the New England Ski Museum, 135 Tramway Drive, Franconia NH 03580.
Arrangements are entrusted to Dennett, Craig & Pate Funeral Home, 365 Main St., Saco, Maine.