METUCHEN, NJ - Philip Robert Wiser, a World War II Coast Guard veteran, who went to war at the age of 16, and crafted a life full of love and adventure, died Friday, August 2, 2019 at the age of 93.
Often soft-spoken, with an easy smile, he shared life with his wife of 68 years, Sylvia, was the father of three, a grandfather, and the patriarch of a family that he adored and that adored him.
Born in Philadelphia on October 18, 1925, the son of a tailor and a stay-at-home mom, he had two sisters, Cissy and Thelma. They lived modestly in Philadelphia and when war broke out, Philip, like so many others in his generation got caught up in the war.
“We were all angry at what was happening,” Philip said. “Pearl Harbor made us angry.” At 16, he and many others left school to enlist. He joined the Coast Guard, assigned to the Cambry, a ship that would see considerable action.
They sailed past Pearl Harbor, the Arizona, Oklahoma and Utah still burning. “We had tears in our eyes,” Philip recalled.
The Cambry would see action in World War II at Majuro Island, Mariana Island, Saipan, Kinney, Truk, Philippines, Luzon and Okinawa.
When he left the service, he was just 21, boarding a Greyhound bus for the week-long trip home to Philadelphia.
It was on a Labor Day weekend that he traveled to New Jersey to his uncle’s small boarding house. There he met Sylvia Taller, and a relationship and love affair began that would go on for more than six decades.
Philip would become a successful office furniture salesman, dabble in local politics, serving on the zoning boards of Old Bridge, NJ, and then Metuchen, when they moved to that town.
Philip was a baseball fan, an avid New York Yankees fan.
He and Sylvia would travel extensively, and for years bring the family together for a Thanksgiving celebration at their home.
It was Louis Armstrong who said “Each man, has his own music bubbling up inside him.” Philip was all about music, whether at jazz clubs, the Newport Jazz Festival, on the dance floor, or at Broadway Plays. Or at the Veterans Home, where in retirement he’d volunteer, leading discussions about jazz and the big bands.
Philip was the son of the late Isidore and Anna Wiser, brother of the late Cissy Wallach and the late Thelma Katz. Besides his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Nanette and Sheryl, and a son, Elliott, his wife, Barbara, and their daughter, Ashley.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at the Costello-Runyon Funeral Home, 568 Middlesex Avenue Metuchen 08840. A visitation will be held from 11:30am to 12:30pm followed by a Funeral Home Service from 12:30pm to 1:30pm. Following the service, the entombment will be held at Beth Israel Cemetery. The family invites everyone back to the family residence following the cemetery.