Special to the Times
Although he was born in, Warrem. Ohio, he came to Ely, Nevada approximately 15 years ago and called it home. He discovered Ely, shortly after his daughter returned from a visit to here, and she recommended he check it out. He visited and weeks later he announced that he had purchased a home and relocated to White Pine County.
Puppet Phil ran several different businesses and became very passionate about making signs and was able to use his creativity through the production of a sign. If you needed a sign he would figure out how to make it.
He had a love for puppetry earlier on in life. He would build stages for the puppets, and he belonged to the Sad Faces Puppetry Guild. He was a self taught magician, vintriloquist and taught himself how to tie balloons.
He spent countless hours at the Library conducting a magic show or a puppet class. He would tell the youth “It’s important that you go the library because everything I learned, I learned from checking out a library book.”
Puppet Phil participated in many events around town, and was very instrumental in starting the Halloween event at the Bristlecone Convention Center. He told his family that he felt bad for the kids because they couldn’t show their costumes because they were bundled up in layers of coats, scarves and gloves during Halloween, so he created an indoor event for all to enjoy.
You could see Puppet Phil at the Fourth of July parade riding his bicycle down the street dressed up as Uncle Sam handing out flag pins to the kids.
Puppet Phil was a prankster too though. He loved handing over an exploding pen, and he gave all of his great grandchildren two headed nickels. The family noted that when Puppet Phil came to visit, the entire house would be filled with balloons and laughter from grandkids and they all knew him as the “grandpa with the hat”.
In spite of all the well-earned praise and public attention he received, Puppet Phil was a normal man who never sought recognition for his kindness.
Since his passing, a great number of people have expressed their admiration for Harry and appreciation for all he gave as a storyteller, community leader and positive influence on the world we share.
Phillip Fickes was born February 11, 1940 in Warren Ohio. Phillip is survived by his daughters, seven grand-children and ten great grand-children.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, October 7 at St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church. And a Puppet Phil style reception will follow at the Bristlecone Convention Center