Cover photo for Philip Coltart's Obituary
1944 Philip 2019

Philip Coltart

July 7, 1944 — April 28, 2019

Philip McLean Coltart (74), loving husband, father and friend died from pancreatic cancer at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Brainerd, MN on April 28, 2019 surrounded by his family.

Phil was born July 7, 1944, to George L. and Dorothy (Johnson) Coltart in Milwaukee, WI, where his love for the Green Bay Packers germinated. He attended and graduated from Purdue University in 1966 with a Bachelor’s Degree and earned his Master’s Degree in 1969. He met the love of his life, Meribeth Evans, at Purdue and they married on August 24, 1968 in Lagrange, IL.

Their adventure together took them around the Midwest, landing them first in Springfield, OH, where Phil worked for Wittenberg University as a Men’s Residence Hall Director. Their son, Stephen Scott, was born. Phil next accepted a job at UW Parkside in Racine, WI, as the Asst. Director of Admissions. They welcomed their daughter, Heather McLean, there. Rhinelander, WI, was their next stop where Phil worked for the University of Wisconsin Extension as the Continuing Education Agent. Their second daughter, Amy Evans, joined the family. They lived on 4 acres with 25 chickens, a litter of kittens, 6 puppies, and 2 dogs! Never a dull moment!

After living on the hobby farm, Phil accepted the job of Associate Director of Admissions at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. Their Sycamore house had a fabulous garden, an excellent backyard for baseball where the raspberry bushes served as third base. Phil taught Meribeth how to ride a motorcycle there.

In 1981, Phil took the position of Director of Admissions at Southwest State University in Marshall, MN. Later in 1992, he took on the role as Registrar at SMSU before retiring in 2004. Phil always said he loved working with the students. They kept him young. His peers, his counselors and staff whom he loved, grew up and flourished with him.

The friends Phil made in Marshall through his kids’ High School activities like baseball, volleyball, judging speech as well as through their church and jobs, claim a huge chunk in their hearts.

Having been raised at his family’s summer cabin in Maine, retirement had to be on a lake. They found a great place in Backus, MN. Shortly after retiring, Phil threw away his watch and moved up North to begin making the property their home.

In Backus, Phil was Finance Chair and Treasurer at Pine River United Methodist Church. Twice a week he’d help solve the world's problems at morning coffee and played pool. He anxiously anticipated summer cribbage around the lake. He loved traveling to watch his kids and grandkids’ activities as well as drive the pontoon boat and then “noodle up”! Phil loved all the wildlife in Northern MN and told many stories of their shenanigans.

Phil was a devoted and loving husband, father and friend. He and Meribeth loved each other deeply. They loved to laugh, had a running tally of scrabble and cribbage games. They enjoyed their friends at Friday night suppers, casual soup and cards’ nights and birthday gatherings! They treasure their lifelong friends from every city they have lived and have felt their love throughout Phil’s illness.

Phil is survived by his wife, Meribeth; children: Stephen (Steph) Coltart, Heather (Cody) Wienk, Amy (Vince) Drader; and 6.5 grandkids: Haley, Chase, Ava, Harrison, Julia, Finn and granddaughter to arrive in August. He is surrounded by loved ones from above including his parents, George and Dorothy; brother, Donald; Meribeth’s parents, Howard and Betty; and sister, DeeAnn.

A Celebration of Life will take place on Monday, May 27 at 11 am at the Pine River United Methodist Church in Pine River, MN. Memorial gifts can be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network ( to help further pancreatic cancer research. Arrangements are being handled by Kline Funeral Home in Pine River, MN.

Phil’s love of the Green Bay Packers, MN Twins, and Island Lake will live on! GPG and Paddles Up!!

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Philip Coltart, please visit our flower store.


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