Philip Damian Gagler of Monroe, New York, passed away on May 13, 2021, at the age of 63 after a 17 year battle with Stage IV colon cancer. Phil was born on September 28, 1957 to parents Henry Ralph Gagler and Jane McCorry Gagler at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ.
Phil is survived by his wife, Dana, his sons Dylan and Griffin, his siblings Diane and Laurence, and numerous nieces and nephews.
After graduating from Midland Park High School in 1975, he attended Bergen Community College and worked as a printer. Phil met his future wife, Dana Reedy, in 1986 and they were married in 1989. Their sons, Dylan and Griffin, were born in 1993 and 2000, respectively. Around that time, Phil returned to school for web development and soon began working at Pearson Education in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. He was also a freelance photographer and an early adopter of drone photography both as a hobby and to support his work.
Diagnosed in 2004 and determined to survive to raise his two young sons, Dylan and Griffin, then ages 10 and 3, Phil fought with great courage and determination and managed to see them reach maturity. He participated in cancer support groups including Gilda’s Club and many online forums where he counseled people newly diagnosed and gave them hope. Interviewed by The New York Times in 2004, he said "It -- the illness -- is the best thing that has happened to me. I have opened up more and enjoy every day. It's also the worst -- for obvious reasons.” Phil was a role model for how to face cancer with grace and humor.
Despite his circumstances, Phil elevated the spirits of those around him with his wit and humor. When recently asked by a new doctor how he was doing, he responded by saying, “Next question.” Phil loved music, especially the blues and the Beatles, and enjoyed playing and collecting guitars. Politically active in his community, he also was an avid kayaker and a prolific nature photographer.
Services will take place on Tuesday, May 18th from 2pm-4pm and 6pm-8pm at Feeney Funeral Home in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Cremation will be private.
In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution to the American Cancer Society in his name.
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