Philip Louis Gilbert of Kennett Square

Philip Louis Gilbert died peacefully in his sleep on Nov. 28. He was born Feb. 28, 1927, in New York City, and was the only child of Isadore Humphrey Gilbert and Estelle Bernstein Gilbert. Phil attended Woodmere Academy (now Lawrence Woodmere Academy), graduating in 1944. He attended Swarthmore College, graduating in 1948 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He received his master’s degree in business administration from Adelphi University.

Phil met Alice Wade Higley in their freshman year at Swarthmore, and they married the November following their graduation. After their wedding, Phil and Alice moved to Long Island, N.Y., living in Jamaica, Queens; Huntington Station; and Garden City. In 1998, they retired to Kendal-Crosslands Communities in Kennett Square.

Philip Gilbert

Phil and Alice were introduced to the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) at Swarthmore College and became convinced Friends after their graduation. They joined Westbury Monthly Meeting in 1957. After many years at Westbury, they joined Manhasset Monthly Meeting in New York and, after retirement, became members of London Grove Monthly Meeting in Pennsylvania.

Phil is remembered as an active Quaker. He served on many national Quaker organizations, including as a member of Friends General Conference Central and Advancement Committees and the Friends World Committee for Consultation. He also served on various committees of New York and Philadelphia Yearly Meetings, including as Clerk of Westbury Monthly Meeting and as a member of the New York Yearly Meeting Advancement and Epistle Committees, and Clerk of the Committee in charge of Oakwood Friends School (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.). In retirement, Phil enjoyed working with his wife, Alice, to raise money at the London Grove Meeting annual flower sale.

Phil lived to care for people. His conversion to Quakerism followed his experiences during WWII, including his work on the Manhattan Project, living with a stream of Jewish refugees while in high school and his broad education at Swarthmore College. His business life included expertise creating and marketing innovative blood products at Certified Blood Donor Service (CBDS, purchased by Hoechst AG (now Sanofi)); working in marketing hospital and pharmaceutical information at IMS America (now QuintilesIMS); and managing Northeast Paramedical Inc., which designed, crafted and wholesaled prosthetic limbs. He was known for his dedication to ensuring that his businesses employed people of all backgrounds in their New York City locations.

Philip is survived by a loving family, his children and their spouses, Esther Gilbert (Christine), Elizabeth (Richard) and Thomas (Ellen), his five grandchildren, Hannah, Eric, Meredith, Rebecca and Karen, and his two great-grandchildren, Carys and Alexander. Alice, his wife of 64 years, predeceased him in 2012.

A Quaker memorial service is planned for Crosslands at 2 p.m. on Feb. 2. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Phil’s name to Swarthmore College.

To view his online tribute and to share a memory with his family, please visit

Arrangements by the Kuzo & Grieco Funeral Home, Kennett Square.

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