Coles Phinizy

Coles PhinizyColes passed away on October 13, after nearly a decade-long battle with cancer. “The themes that run through the various memories circulated among the roommates on word of his death were his warmth, even keel, and solid judgment,” says Dick Lawlor. “He was a calming influence among a group of loyal, eclectic, rambunctious personalities who roomed together as the Punt Club. In freshman year, apparently as a result of his height and size, he picked up the name ‘Horse’ and, at least among his roommates, it has stuck for over 50 years. As Bob Lilley wrote: ‘You could nuzzle his nose, he would never bite!’ Coles loved his years at Yale and has been a faithful alum.

“After graduating from Columbia Law School in 1971, Coles was a lawyer with the EPA working primarily on superfund cases, including Love Canal, throughout the East. He spent over 40 years with the Agency. He and Carol Nehring married in 1976 and had two boys: Pelton and Alexander, and lived in New York City.

“Unfortunately, the last decade was complicated by a series of illnesses which greatly limited his mobility.  I am happy to say that neither sarcoma nor diabetes kept him from our 50th. We all had a wonderful time and he thoroughly enjoyed himself. We all extend our deepest condolences to Carol, their boys and grandchildren. RIP.”

“I probably knew him before anyone else in this group,” says Ned Flynn. “He came to The Hill School in 1961, our 11th grade (or, as it was called, the 5th Form). We were on the same hall at The Hill, and Phizz was a great fellow, full of good humor and always up for a ‘hall hack,’ as pranks were called. Didn’t see much of him when we came to Yale but kept some track of him after law school when he was with the EPA. He was a great friend, and I am sorry to hear that he went through a decade of cancer. Guess he was also a helluva fighter. God bless him.”