February 13, 1983 – August 23, 2023
HOLY TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH
NEW YORK CITY
Recording of Philip’s Memorial Service
September 9, 2023
Philip Michael Stewart
Feb 13, 1983 – Aug 23, 2023
You couldn’t know Philip Michael Stewart without loving him. He seemed to have endless energy, was always ready with a smile, and adored spending time surrounded by people.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, Phil spent his life traveling and seeing the world.
Phil moved to Washington, DC after high school, where he attended American University (2002-2005), graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism. Aside from his academic interests in journalism, he was also very active in AU’s musical theatre program, particularly his lead role as the Emcee in the production of Cabaret.
After graduating, Phil worked as a reporter and anchor at WCAV-TV in Charlottesville, VA, and then moved back to the District where he was a reporter for WJLA-TV for four years. During that time, he received a National Capital Emmy Award for investigative reporting, as well as a Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Award.
Phil then moved away from journalism to be the spokesperson for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, before landing a dream job of working for a major airline in New York City, in 2015.
While Washington, DC had been his home for nearly 12 years, Phil truly loved anything having to do with air travel. He once said the place he felt the most relaxed was on an airplane. Phil spent over eight years at JetBlue, then recently moved to British Airways earlier this year, as Vice President of Corporate Affairs.
He dreamed of seeing the world – and he did. He shared part of that dream with his beloved mother, Priscilla, to whom he was very close. She was an important part of his life, visiting Washington, DC and NYC on holidays, weaving into the fabric of his life and friends there. He took her to Europe for the first time and always brought her something back from every one of his trips.
During Tel Aviv Pride in June 2016, Phil met his love, Barak. They married in October 2017 in NYC. Barak’s love of exploring equaled Phil’s and the two traveled to innumerable countries together, as well as with friends. His favorite locations included the French Riviera, Palm Springs, CA, and Tel Aviv. He loved the beach and was happiest in the sun, next to the water.
After meeting Barak, he learned Hebrew and participated fully in all the Jewish holidays. While Phil loved going to new places, he also had a deep sense of tradition. Harkening back to his German, mid-western roots, he always ate pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day for good luck. He would throw pumpkin-carving parties every Halloween where he would instruct the front desk of his building to not allow anyone up if they weren’t carrying a pumpkin. He cooked elaborate Thanksgiving dinners with his friends and family. He adored Christmas. His tree was always fully decked-out, the apartment filled with lights and decorations, and he would make tray after tray of cookies and pizzelle.
Phil will always be remembered as the life of the party. All of his friends will tell you, with a smile, about late-night dance parties they shared, how any time anyone hears a Madonna song, they will always think of him, about his love of Chanel and fashion, about his sense of humor and charisma.
Part of what made Phil such a dynamic and enchanting individual was his curiosity. His interest in journalism was born from this, and you could see it grow in his love of traveling. When he visited new places, he asked questions and wanted to learn about the local culture and traditions. He was always interested in learning new things, seeing new places, having new experiences, and meeting new people.
This curiosity, this spark, this lightness he shared with us all will be deeply missed.
Philip is preceded in death by his mother Priscilla L. Stewart. He is survived by his husband, Barak Kessar, his aunt, Phyllis Creer, and his sister, Teresa Delp and family.
A memorial service to celebrate Philip’s life will be held at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in NYC at 1 pm on September 9, 2023.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to The Trevor Project.
The Trevor Project
Please make your donation on behalf of Philip Stewart.