Philip Ingerman

Obituary of Philip C. Ingerman

Philip Chapin Ingerman, 72, of Northport, N.Y., died peacefully on Aug. 26, 2023 after a long battle with cancer. He was born in Huntington, N.Y., on July 15, 1951, the first child of Percy and Helen (Smith) Ingerman.

Phil's devotion to family was whole hearted. For 38 years he was a life partner to the late Joyce L. Spencer. Ms. Spencer's children, who were close in age to Phil, all forged deep bonds with him. He cherished his role as grandfather to five; they recall summers around his pool, day trips to Broadway shows, the Fireman's Fair, poker games around the kitchen table, and fresh blueberry pancakes. He was thrilled to welcome two great-grandchildren to his family in the last three years. He was very proud of the successes of his nieces and nephew.

Phil's sense of humor bloomed when surrounded by family and friends. At times during his telling of an entertaining anecdote, he would laugh so hard he couldn't get to the punch line. A kind man with a ready laugh and a keen intellect, he had an easy, natural charm. "Everything he did he succeeded at," his brother Bean (Steven) said. "His siblings admired his accomplishments."


Phil's family settled in Northport in the 1900s. His grandfather, Abraham Ingerman, a tailor, raised his family on Main Street; his father, Percy, was a noted attorney who founded the Ingerman Smith law firm, and his aunt and uncle, Rose and Murray Marshall ran Ingerman's Department store on Main Street. His aunt, Ethel Clark, was a successful businesswoman in Suffolk County and his aunt and uncle Michael and Grace Wolfe were longtime residents of Northport. One of his ancestors on his mother's side was Stanley Howard Lowndes, the so called "Oyster Baron," who owned a big house on Bayview Avenue. Phil remained dedicated to his parents, supporting them as their health failed.


A lifelong resident of Northport, some of Phil's most rewarding work was in giving back to the community, working for the state and local governments and through his work at the Northport Historical Society, where he served on the Board of Directors for 9 years in several capacities. At the Historical Society, he approached his work with typical precision and focus, reworking bylaws, descriptions, and committees that helped lead the group on a path of organization and professionalism. "Civility," "practicality" and "productivity" are words former president of the board Theodore Kaplan used to describe him. "He was our 'go to' person regarding government, grants, parliamentary procedure, by-laws, policies and procedures," said Suzanne McGuire, president of the board. "Philip was always ready to listen, to help advise with his thoughtful, keen intellect. All of his fellow trustees, and the Historical Society staff, speak of his kindness and his caring. He was a gentleman, and will be greatly missed."


Phil was a leader and a problem solver. For 24 years, he served as Chief of Staff to James L. Lack, former state senator for the 2nd District, who described Mr. Ingerman as "brilliant." "He handled thousands of constituent inquiries in every facet of government involvement," he said. "Wherever I went in the district people would thank me (meaning Phil) for solving their problem." Former Sen. Lack also took advantage of Phil's golf talent. "I was constantly invited to charitable golf outings except I can't play golf. Phil, with his low handicap, tried to teach me. After a couple of very frustrating tries we both gave up. For years after, Phil would go to all the outings, winning trophy after trophy for which I would get credit. It was a perfect partnership."


After Senator Lack was appointed as a State Court of Claims judge, Phil began working for the town of Huntington, as Assistant Deputy Supervisor for Intergovernmental Relations, a position he held for 16 years until his retirement in 2020. Again, he was the point person for constituent concerns. "Phil [was] always there for me and the people of Huntington," said Frank Petrone, Huntington Town Supervisor during Phil's tenure. "Phil … was talented in his ability to resolve individual and neighborhood concerns. He was able, with his gentle approach, to calm a situation and bring an issue to mutual consensus." His many years with the New York State Senate helped him be a liaison and negotiate state projects and issues. "Phil was very knowledgeable, talented and solution oriented," Mr. Petrone said.


An avid golfer, he was humble about his low single digit handicap. Other interests included entertaining around the pool in his well-maintained yard, lively intellectual conversation about almost all topics, wood-working and other craftsmanship, symphony at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, season theater tickets in New York City and at the Engeman Theater in Northport and participating in his weekly book clubs. He formed deep friendships wherever he became involved. Those many friends, who remained loyal and helpful throughout his trials, brought great joy and meaning to his life.


Phil supported many local causes for many years, including the Northport Visiting Nurses and Hospice, whose services he appreciated during the most difficult months of his illness, throughout which he maintained his equanimity and sense of humor.


Phil graduated magna cum laude from Bates College in Lewiston Maine. He worked briefly for the Office of the Suffolk County Executive as Director of State Government Relations.

Phil leaves his brothers: Peter K. Ingerman of Locust Valley and New York City; David S. Ingerman of Chittenden, VT; and Steven L. Ingerman of New York City. Also, his life partner's children: Anne I. Smyers of Reston, VA.; Janet S. Insolia of Dover, NH; and Robert S. Insolia of Bedford, NY; grandchildren: Kaitlan E. Allen, Jake A. Ford, Abby A. Legere, Julia R. Dary, and Hudson S. Insolia; nieces and nephew Helen, Carmen, Diana and Edward Ingerman; and two great grandchildren. He also leaves cousins Marcia Clark and Martha Glynn, with whom he maintained close and caring relationships.


A memorial will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Northport Historical Society would be greatly appreciated.

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