Phillip N. Werkmeister, 73, of Benton, formerly of Harrisburg, passed away at 5:05 PM, Saturday, April 16, 2022 at his residence, surrounded by his family.
Phillip was born on April 25, 1948 in Harrisburg, to the late Russell and Bonnie (Parker) Werkmeister. He married Leslie Strain on September 2, 1967 at First General Baptist Church in Harrisburg, and she survives in Benton. Phillip attended Harrisburg First General Baptist Church.
Phillip graduated from Southern Illinois University with a degree in Administration of Justice and a minor in Music. He was also a member of the Marching Salukies. Phillip served his country in the United States Army and was a member of the 5th Army Band and the Honor Guard where he was able to play taps for many fallen soldiers during the Vietnam era. He was a trumpet player, and played in dance bands, Palm Sunday at the Catholic Church and Madrigals at Southeastern Illinois College (SIC).
Phillip was retired from law enforcement after more than a thirty-year career. He served in the Harrisburg Police Department for twenty-nine years. He was Chief of Police for part of that time and also served nine years in the Drug Task Force. Phillip was also a Law Enforcement instructor at SIC. After retiring from Harrisburg Police Department, he served as Chief of Police in Benton and Carrier Mills. Phillip was a founding member of HURRT, Harrisburg Underwater Rescue and Recovery Team. Phillip’s family said that he spent his entire life serving others.
Phillip was also a gunsmith and a firearms instructor. He enjoyed hunting and fishing. He and Leslie were foster parents for nearly 30 years. They maintained relationships with many of their foster children. Phillip’s favorite activity was spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.
Phillip is survived by his wife, Leslie of Benton; four children, son, Phillip Neil “Neil” Werkmeister and wife, Leanne of Evansville, Indiana; son, Russell “Rusty” Werkmeister and wife, Valerie of Poseyville, Indiana; daughter, Carolyn Farthing and husband, Chad of Plano, Illinois; daughter, Danielle Jean Bailey and husband, Brian of Evansville, Indiana; twelve grandchildren; numerous foster children and grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
Phillip was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Marylyn Halstead.
Funeral services will be held for Phillip N. Werkmeister at 2 PM on Thursday, April 21, 2022 at Reed Funeral Chapel in Harrisburg. David Nave will officiate and military rites will be conducted by the United States Army, the American Legion, Sons of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Visitation will by held from 5 PM to 8 PM on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 and 12 PM to 2 PM on Thursday, April 21, 2022 at Reed Funeral Chapel. Memorial contributions may be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Hospice of Southern Illinois.