(Photo Credits: Screengrab from Kenneth Felts’ Facebook Account)
Whatever happened to Phillip?
This for sure, was the question running through the readers’ minds when we featured Mr. Kenneth Felts’ story a few days ago here on A4A blog. Mr. Felts is the 90-year-old grandpa from Arvada, Colorado who made headlines this Pride Month when he came out as gay to his family after spending nearly a century in the closet. If you have yet to read his story, you can do so here.
When he came out, he also mentioned a man named Phillip who he said was the love of his life.
The two of them met at work in Long Beach, California in 1957 and it was Phillip who taught him how to do reports. The attraction was instant and they started dating in secret because Mr. Felts was not out as a gay man. He added that eventually, he left Phillip because he felt guilty about their relationship; because he “was doing something with Phillip that was really wonderful but was ‘wrong.'”
Further, he explained, “Society and my religion said I should be straight. I had this conflict between the church and my love for Phillip.”
Mr. Felts said that he then left his job, Phillip, and California behind. Even so, Phillip wrote him two or three letters and the last one said: “If you don’t answer, I won’t bother you again.” He didn’t answer Phillip’s letter because he didn’t feel he could do both: “respond to him and continue being straight.”
He added, “So I chose to be straight and didn’t ever hear from him again. It was the wrong decision and I’ve regretted it all my life.” Read the Newsweek article in full here.
Many people have been messaging Mr. Felts about his story and one such person volunteered to locate Phillip. The search didn’t take months and Mr. Felts himself had shared the update about Phillip in the Newsweek article. He said:
But she discovered a week or so ago that he had passed away around two years ago. So it’s very difficult and very painful. To me, he died less than two weeks ago. I posted what I felt was an obituary for him online and people have been overwhelmingly supportive, saying how sorry they are that I missed seeing him. But it still hurts.
Part of the obituary that Mr. Felts wrote for Phillip reads:
It is so terribly frustrating to be so close to and yet not reach my lost love and horribly painful to not be able to say good-by. But the whole world now knows what a loving man he was with me and to me while we were together. My heart has turned to stone and I need my tears to wash away my sorrow. Rest in Peace Phillip.
You can read it in full below: