— By JUDY SHERIDAN
East Parker County residents gathered to celebrate the life of former Annetta mayor Philip George Lumsden Wednesday during a memorial service held at Aledo United Methodist Church.
Lumsden, who designed, built and operated Sugartree Golf Course in Dennis and designed and developed Split Rail Links and Golf Club in Aledo, died of cancer Jan. 26. He was 72.
A graduate of Arlington State College, Lumsden spent 28 years in the computer forms business in Arlington. He was a board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Arlington Boys Club and served as president and chairman of the board of Rolling Hills Country Club.
Lumsden was a 32nd degree Mason in Arlington Lodge No. 438 and a member of Great Southwest Golf Club and later, Ridglea Country Club.
When he moved to Parker County in 1984, he continued to volunteer, as a member of the Parker County Economic Development Committee, the Parker County Crime Commission and the Parker County Committee on Aging. He also served on the Brock School Board.
Lumsden was a member of First United Methodist Church in Arlington, the Methodist Church in Brock and the Aledo United Methodist Church.
He and his wife, Nellie, moved to Aledo in 1999.
According to those who offered eulogies — Ken Gibbons, Joe Tison, Brad McDavid, Bill Bowerman, John Rhodes, Mike Fox, Craig Atherton and Rob Watson — Lumsden was a fearless, competitive, larger-than-life character who worked hard and was quick to help others.
Gibbons, delivering on a promise to Lumsden, secured an honor guard for the service, which included the playing of Taps and a presentation of the American flag to Nellie. Lumsden served in the U.S. Air Force from 1961-65, Gibbons said, and was considered to be a Vietnam-era veteran, although he did not serve in Vietnam.
“He was a unique individual, and I am honored he asked me to do this for him and honored that Nellie is able to receive his flag, as she should have,” he said.
Tison recited a poem entitled, “My Friend Phil.” He said Lumsden didn’t talk about his struggles with cancer, saying instead that he wouldn’t change a single thing about his life.
McDavid recalled encountering an angry Lumsden as McDavid scouted for arrowheads in a spot Lumsden had bulldozed. The two became friends when Lumsden realized they were both fighting the same anti-growth Annetta City Council member, McDavid said, and McDavid eventually helped get the plat for Lumsden’s golf course approved.
“I stopped by City Hall one day, and there was Phil, sitting in that council member’s chair,” McDavid said. “Then, later he became mayor. He was a great man and will leave a big void in Parker County.”
Bowerman, a high school friend, said he had lost track of Lumsden, but got a call from him when he was building Sugartree Golf Course. Impressed, Bowerman decided to partner with him in the venture.
“What usually takes [a team of experts] to do, Phil, with his muscles and mind and a few good men had done,” he said. “It was amazing.”
Rhodes, an Aledo pole vaulting coach, called Lumsden a “master of many things,” including piloting airplanes, helping his grandsons with homework, and performing water sports like platform diving and waterskiing — which he continued into his 70s.
“I see his spirit every day when I see Koby and Blake,” he said. “They’re little hims.”
Fox talked about Lumsden’s interest in and huge impact on Fox’s family, Atherton called him a “friend of the heart,” and Watson said he never hesitated to help, recalling times when Lumsden fixed a frozen pipe for Watson’s family, used his backhoe to bury a neighbor’s cow and patched potholes for the Town of Annetta.
Watson also read tributes from Hudson Oaks Mayor Pat Deen, Hudson Oaks Assistant City Administrator Patrick Lawler and Aledo Mayor Kit Marshall.
Aledo United Methodist Church Pastor Rev. Jason Jones said Lumsden loved his Scottish roots, explaining why a bagpipe player welcomed people to the gathering and played during the service as well.
Jones invited those attending to inspect the welding on a bench positioned at the front of the church, a testimony to Lumsden’s careful workmanship.
“Phil didn’t let the world make choices for him,” Jones concluded. “He was able to serve his community and have time for his family.”
“When he walked through [the valley of the shadow of death], Jesus Christ was walking with him. What we call death, God calls a homecoming.”
After the service, relatives and friends joined the family at the Parson’s Table.
Phil is survived by his wife, Nellie; son, Craig Philip; daughter, Christy Jo Scott and husband Eric; grandchildren, Taylor, Koby, Blake and Rachel Esplin and husband Bryan; great-granddaughters, Alisa and Katelyn; sisters, Barbara Thompson and husband Jim, Carol Dillard and husband Bobby; and many nieces and nephews.