Phail Wynn – May He Rest In Peace

Today we are sad to report the death of Rotarian Phail Wynn. Phail recently retired from a position he held at Duke for 10 years as Vice President for Durham and Regional Affairs. Previously he served as the President of Durham Technical Community College where the Student Services Center building is named after him. He died suddenly at home of natural causes at age 71.

Phail will be remembered by many Rotarians for the entertaining program introductions he made including those of Duke Presidents when they spoke to the club. Most recently he addressed the club in February of this year delivering a Rotary Minute and told a story from his service in the Vietnam war which illustrated a lot about the man and why he was successful in helping to manage the town and gown relationship between Duke and Durham.  You can read the story in his own words here. An earlier Rotary Minute, recorded in August of 2014 shares more of his background including his 35+ years as a Rotarian and his affection for his Harleys.

According to Past President Sam Miglarese, who worked closely with Phail at Duke, he had been trying to retire for years and move on into the next stage of his life, wherever that would lead him. “He was looking forward to that with great anticipation. He has been a community leader for a life time and his unexpected death leaves those affected by his life and work with loss and grief. But the greatest tribute to him is not grief but gratitude.”

A story in this morning’s online edition of Duke Today recounts his service to Duke and Durham. You can read it here.

In June of this year the Duke Chronicle published a long interview upon the occasion of his retirement that illustrates how effective he was at his job for those who might know him only for his great introductions, radiant smile and story telling skills. You can read that here.

He is survived by his mother, Valree Fletcher Wynn, his wife, Peggy, and son, Rahsaan.

May he rest in peace.

Services will be held Monday, July 30 at 11:00 AM in Duke Chapel on the Duke campus.


  1. […] More information about Phail and his achievements can be found here. […]

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