Philip John Mongillo, Jr. of Westbrook, died peacefully at Connecticut Hospice on Thursday, November 29, 2012 following a long and courageous battle with cancer. Born in Derby, CT on December 13, 1924, he was the son of the late Filippo and Barbara (Botti) Mongillo. Philip served in the US Navy and the US Marines during World War II, and was assigned to the First Battalion, 28th Marines, serving in the medical corps. His battalion landed on Iwo Jima at Green Beach on the first day of the battle in February 1945. Philip was wounded during the fighting and was awarded the Purple Heart and a Presidential Battalion Citation. After the war, he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Biology from Fairfield University and was a member of the college's first graduating class in 1951. For 34 years, he worked for Monsanto in Deep River, researching plastics. After retiring from Monsanto, Philip developed a passion for long-distance running and ran in countless races and marathons, participating in the Boston Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC for many years. As a result of his avid interest in running, he was able to represent Connecticut and the United States in the Senior Olympics, not only throughout the United States, but in Japan, Finland, Great Britain and South Africa. He was a founding member of St. Mark the Evangelist Church in Westbrook and enjoyed serving the church for many years by coordinating bingo and the annual church fairs, as well as serving for many years as a trustee of the church. Philip was a member and past president of the Iwo Jima Survivors and was a frequent guest speaker at local schools on Veterans Day, where he enjoyed relating his experiences to students. In addition, he had the opportunity to return to Iwo Jima on the fiftieth anniversary of the battle where he met with both American and Japanese survivors of the battle. Philip was also an avid gardener and was known for the wonderful tomatoes he grew and generously shared with so many people. He was predeceased by his parents, a sister, Barbara (Mongillo) Tiano and a brother, Louis Mongillo. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Sylvia (Bartone) Mongillo and their three children Debra A. D'Errico of Arlington, VT, Denise A. Christensen of Middletown, NY and Phillip J. Mongillo, III of Branford. He also leaves two beloved grandchildren, Julianne L. Miller of Westbrook and Robert O. Christensen of Wethersfield. Grampy will be sadly missed by his loving family.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, December 6, at noon at St. Mark's Church, 222 McVeagh Rd, Westbrook. Calling hours are in the church Thursday, December 6, from 10 am until noon, preceding the service. Burial will be private. Swan Funeral Home of Old Saybrook has charge of arrangements. For online tributes and condolences, please visit www.swanfuneralhomeoldsaybrook.com