Fr. Deacon Phillip William Popoff, age 92, of Erie passed away on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at St. Mary’s at Asbury Ridge. He was born on December 29, 1925, in Erie, Pennsylvania where he lived the majority of his life. He was the youngest son of John “Evan” and Agafia Popoff. He attended East High School, as well as Tech Memorial from which he earned his diploma following his service during World War II.
He was an active parishioner of the Church of the Nativity of Christ, Russian Orthodox Old Rite, where he served as a beloved Deacon for more than 20 years. He devoted his life to serving the Church, which in part included making candles, something he always referred to as a labor of love. The scent of beeswax could always be smelled as soon as you walked through the door, and you would immediately know what Dad was doing in the basement of the family homestead located in the old Russian neighborhood at the foot of Parade Street. He also worked as a machinist in Building 64 at General Electric for over 40 years from where he retired. He married his wife, Jean Krass Popoff, on July 24, 1949, and together they raised three children. Throughout their marriage, he remained a loyal and devoted husband. Even in their later years, Fr. Phillip could be found sitting at the side of his sweetheart every day, who was a long-time resident of Saint Mary’s, watching old movies and listening to music. During World War II, he served as a Sergeant and Medic in the Philippines which had a lasting impact on his life. He enjoyed reading the daily Erie Times News without fail, listening to music especially from the 1940’s era, following Cleveland Indians baseball, and watching the rain come down while sitting on the porch. He was an avid reader of history and had the incredible ability to recite dates and names of people from times gone by. More than anything, Fr. Phillip enjoyed spending time with his family and grandchildren, whom he cherished. He lived his life simply and was the most gentle soul.
He is preceded in death by his beloved wife of 65 years, Jean Krass Popoff, his parents, as well as his siblings: Daniel “Danil” Popoff, Lucy Peganoff, Daniel Popoff, Anna Melnitsky, Ignati Popoff, Agnes Popoff, James Popoff, and Viola Phillips. He is survived by his children: Reverend Fr. Hierotheus John Popoff (Susan) of Erie, Tammy Maria Jean Hiltz (Cliff) of Roaming Shores, Ohio, and Laura Stefanovski (Nick) of Fairview. In addition, he leaves behind his loving grandchildren: Nicholas Hiltz of Ohio, Anastasia and Elizabeth Popoff of Erie, and Sophia, Katharyn, Alexander and Olivia Stefanovski of Fairview.
Friends and family may call at The Church of the Nativity of Christ, 251 East Front Street, on Monday, March 19th, from 4:00 until 8:00 PM. The funeral will take place at The Church of the Nativity of Christ at 8:30 AM on Tuesday, March 20th. Burial will be at St. John the Divine Cemetery.
The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks and deep appreciation to the entire staff at Saint Mary’s at Asbury Ridge for the wonderful and supportive care they gave not only to their father, but to their mother as well over the last decade. “It's the circle of life, and it moves us all, through despair and hope, through faith and love, 'till we find our place, on the path unwinding.” Sir Elton John
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Church of the Nativity Endowment Fund, 109 German Street, Erie, PA 16507. Arrangements are made by the Quinn Funeral Home, West 9th and Liberty Streets.