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Philip Douglas Uhlinger ’72

October 15, 2018, in Phoenix, Arizona, of blood infection that led to sepsis.

Douglas was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where his parents were American Baptist missionaries. After graduating from the American School of Kinshasa, Douglas started at Reed, where he was chair of the judicial board and on the Reed College senate. He wrote his thesis, “Frantz Fanon: Three Theories,” with Prof. Maure Goldschmidt [political science 1935–81]. He went on to get a law degree from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago.

Douglas spent most of his legal career in public service, with the vast majority of his career at the Illinois Appellate Court. He was a judicial law clerk (research attorney) for one of the first black women on the court. Prior to that, he was counsel for the People with Disabilities Foundation, assistant managing attorney for Legal Assistance for Seniors, and managing attorney for Home Base, which provided advocacy and policy recommendations on issues affecting homeless people. While at appellate court, he met his wife Irma. During their married life, Douglas and Irma lived throughout the Chicago area, in the Bay Area, and in Arizona.

He loved playing and watching tennis, reading, foreign films, and ethnic restaurants. He sang along to recordings of Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, and Joan Baez, and was an enthusiastic dancer, eager to take his bride for a spin on the dance floor whenever Mexican ranchera music was playing.

Douglas is survived by his wife, Irma Villarreal, and two sisters, Nancy Uhlinger and Kristin Geoffrey.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2019

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