Philip S. Nepper

Published 3:55 pm Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Following a brave battle against cancer, Philip Stewart Nepper of Washington, NC was promoted to heaven on August 12, 2022 at the age of 81 years young.  Philip loved life and was a doting husband. He had a vibrant personality, an insatiable sweet tooth, and a fondness for playing the lottery every week.

He was born in Huntington, West Virginia, the second son of J. Charles and Mary Alice Nepper.  He grew up in Lewisburg, West Virginia and attended Greenbrier Military School and Lewisburg High School.

After graduation from high school, Philip enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard. After boot camp, he received orders to report to Boston to the US Coast Guard Cutter Eastwind, an icebreaker. Later he was reassigned to the United States Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, where he was stationed for the remainder of his enlistment duty, serving as a dental technician. While in the Coast Guard, he was chosen for a special assignment, to drive a car in the 1965 Presidential Inauguration Parade in which he transported Vice President Hubert Humphrey’s daughter Nancy and her spouse.  After his discharge from the Coast Guard, Philip went on to study computer technology at Montgomery College.

As a child, like many young boys, Philip was obsessed with toy trains. After attending college, he turned his love for trains into a career. He worked in various administrative capacities with the B&O, C&O, Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, Amtrak, and Conrail. While he was very successful in his administrative career, he longed to fulfill his boyhood dream of running a train.  He turned his dream into a reality when he decided to attend engineer school and received his railroad engineer certification from the Federal Railroad Administration. He ran diesel locomotive freight trains for Conrail and Norfolk Southern for several years. Eventually tiring of the many nights away from home that being an engineer required, he decided to leave the railroad and turned yet another of his passions into a new career.

Philip also loved boats. He went on to obtain his commercial captain’s license and ran a boat tour business and restaurant in Chesapeake, Virginia at The Great Dismal Swamp.  Philip purchased his first boat in the 1960’s, a Chris Craft Cabin Cruiser, which he named The Deborah, after his daughter. After that, there were very few stretches in his life that he didn’t own a boat of some sort. Phil was happiest out on the water, so it was natural that he would become involved with the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. He retired from the auxiliary with 20 years, 11 months, and 17 days of volunteer service, during which time he received an array of awards and commendations and occupied the elected positions of Flotilla Commander, Vice Flotilla Commander, and served as a Flotilla Staff Officer.

Two significant events happened for Philip during the 1990’s. First, he met the lady who would become the love of his life in Glenda on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. They married in March 1994 in a ceremony which included their adult children. The other significant event that happened during this period was Philip’s decision to commit his life to Jesus Christ at Poplar Branch Baptist Church in Grandy, North Carolina. Phil’s new found relationship with his Lord and Savior would radically change the way he approached life from that point forward.

Phil and Glenda decided to leave the busy Outer Banks for a quieter life and landed in Washington, North Carolina. Phil would frequently comment about how much he loved the little town, and once again, he was able to work doing the things he loved. He worked as a dockmaster at the Washington City Docks for several years, a perfect fit considering his love of boats and his charismatic, friendly personality. Later he became involved in railroad work again as the bridge tender for the Pamlico River Railroad Turn Bridge.

Music was another of Phil’s interests. He played piano by ear and had an eclectic taste in music. He was fond of everything from classical to beach music to classic rock. But Southern gospel was by far his favorite genre.  He was a member of First Baptist Church of Chocowinity and loved to sing in the choir.

Philip will be lovingly remembered by his wife Glenda; daughter Debbie Florence, stepdaughters Sherrie (David) Thigpen and Sheila Walker Davis; stepson Gerald Perry; nephew, Jim Nepper; niece, Sharon Gooding (Scott), as well as numerous relatives and friends.  He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, James C. Nepper; son-in-law, Nick Florence; stepson, Timothy Edward Walker; and his beloved dogs, Willy and Blade.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, August 17, 2022 at the Chapel of Paul Funeral Home in Washington.

Phil cared deeply about animal welfare. His family asks that if you are so moved, please consider a donation to the Humane Society of Beaufort County in his memory.  (PO Box 33, Washington, NC 27889)

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Paul Funeral Home & Crematory in Washington is honored to serve the Nepper family.