Hundreds gathered in Minneapolis on Thursday evening in a public remembrance for Kelly Phillips, the slain Boston Science executive who had fought for marriage equality for gays.
The man being sought in Phillips’ killing, Lyle “Ty” Hoffman, was not publicly mentioned during the service.
Instead, friends and others spoke of the loss of a beloved, humble and high-caliber man known for his generosity, charisma and infectious smile.
His funeral was in his hometown of Mason City, Iowa, on Aug. 16. This service was for his friends, relatives and co-workers in Minnesota, as well as his parents, Jim and Judy Phillips, and others who came up from Iowa.
“It’s nearly impossible to describe the impact he had on us individually and as a collective group,” said a friend, Sarah K. Hays.
Phillips, 48, was vice president and chief counsel for Worldwide Businesses at Boston Scientific in Minneapolis, a global developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices.
He was shot three times outside an Arden Hills gas station on Aug. 11, allegedly by Hoffman, his former lover and business partner in the nightclub Lush. Hoffman has been charged in the slaying.
Thursday evening, the service at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis included elected and corporate leaders, such as the chief compliance officer from Boston Scientific, where Phillips was also active in an employees’ group that promoted equality.
U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., and Richard Carlbom, chair of Minnesotans United’s campaign for gay marriage equality, delivered eulogies that spoke of Phillips’ political activism, social work and charitable contributions.
He was long an activist for the LGBT community.
Phillips and his fiancé, Nathon Bailey, who attended Thursday’s service, were to be married Saturday.
Among Phillips’ other contributions were buying and restoring a historic office building near downtown Minneapolis and developing it into commercial and residential spaces. He had volunteered in the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association, too.
In early August, Hays told mourners, a group of friends had gathered at the couple’s new house. Phillips talked about the future.
“He described a snowy winter day that friends and family would gather in front of the fire, drink wine, make food, bake cookies, have a sauna,” she said. “He spoke of this day in the future with such detail that he didn’t see it as a possibility, he knew it was a certainty.”
The lights dimmed inside the church at the ceremony’s end, and the Rev. Roger Franzen lit a single candle to symbolize Phillips’ life.
That candle was used to begin a chain reaction among mourners, each holding and lighting a candle.