Phillip M. “Phil” Dimitrijevic

Aged 68, passed away on December 29, 2021.  Phil was recently diagnosed with a rare blood cancer called myelodysplastic syndrome which has been affecting him without explanation for some time due to the resulting anemia.  He was actually preparing for a stem cell transplant procedure after the New Year which was the best chance at mitigation.  Unfortunately, an onset of complications landed him in the hospital on 12/16 that proved too much for his pre-existing heart condition.  Phil was born to Ratomir and Katharina Dimitrijevic, both deceased, in Lansing on October 13, 1953.  He is survived by two siblings, sister Marie Dimitrijevic and brother Alex Dimitrijevic, his daughter, Nicolette Rossi (Christopher) and grandson, Cameron Dimitrijevic, and his former wife of 38 years, Cindy.

Phil grew up in the Elmhurst Elementary/Colonial Village neighborhood of Lansing, graduating from J.W. Sexton High School in 1971, and still has many close friends from those days.  After high school, he worked for several years at the Hazen Lumber Company where he developed carpentry skills that formed a lifelong hobby.  He then entered the insurance industry and enjoyed a long and successful career with several local companies, achieving management roles and recognition as an expert in the field of insurance claims.  Phil was a big sports fan, tinkerer, and avid outdoorsman, who always loved to fish and hunt in Northern Michigan.

Phil’s parents met in the chaos of post-WWII Europe and came to this country for a better life which was only made possible then by hard work.  Phil was very proud of his German and Serbian heritage.  He inherited that same work ethic and toughness and could be seen as a bit scrappy.  But to those that knew him, he was a fiercely loyal friend who could always make you laugh under any circumstance.  He mostly would express himself by just being there in support or doing “chores” for others.  He was a rock for daughter Nicki, a father to Cameron, and a devoted caregiver for his mother in her declining years.

When lying in the ICU 10 days ago and confronted with a very grim prognosis, Phil, being always the fighter, became determined to not die in that hospital and wanted to get home to see his beloved German Shepard, Tess.  By outlasting all of the experts’ diagnosis and with Nicki acting as her Dad’s champion, Phil went home last week with hospice for his final days.  He got to say good bye to many of his friends, spend another Christmas at home with family, and pass away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones and with Tess nearby, which was how Phil would have wanted it.  We will miss him greatly!

A memorial service will be held at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel on Tuesday, January 11, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. with Rev. Dr. Brandon Hempel, Dmin officiating.  The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Tuesday for one hour prior to the service.

For those that wish to watch a livestream of the service, please click HERE

Mask are required by the family for this service.

Those who wish may make memorial contributions, in memory of Phil, to the Superior Watershed Partnership & Land Conservancy, 2 Peter White Dr., Marquette, MI 49855.  If donating by check please put Phil’s name on the memo line or you can donate online at www.superiorwatersheds.org

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23 Messages to “Phillip M. “Phil” Dimitrijevic

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Linda Schlappi
December 30, 2021 at 5:29 pm

I’m so very sorry to hear about Phil!! He was a good friend at Michigan Millers and could always make you laugh for sure!!
Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers at this sad time!! Keep in your heart all the fun times!!!! Sorry I can’t make the services as we will be in Florida!!! Thinking of you all!!!
Linda Schlappi

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Diane wiseman
December 30, 2021 at 5:58 pm

Phil was such a great guy! My daughter Katie and Nikki had so much with with Phil and loved with friendship what a wonderful man he was!!!

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Frank DeRose
December 30, 2021 at 6:00 pm

Phil RIP bro good time’s in colonial village elmhurst Dwight Rich and of course Sexton

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Sharon &Tom King
December 30, 2021 at 6:29 pm

So sorry for your loss Nicki. We are thinking of you and your family

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Jim Krebs
December 30, 2021 at 9:17 pm

Just recently thought of Phil. About 1971 I think he and his family took a trip to Germany. He asked a bunch of us if we wanted anything. I asked for a knife and gave him $5. He brought back a nice pocketknife with a spring blade. Ever the voice of reason when he gave it to me I had to promise not to tell anyone it was spring loaded. Tom Dines had also requested a knife but he didn’t get a spring loaded one because Phil didn’t think he was responsible enough so just brought Tom a regular pocketknife.

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James Dean Overton
December 30, 2021 at 10:20 pm

To my brother, since Elmhurst ,and Colonial Village. Great Life and Great Friends. Love to U, Nicki, Alex, Marie, Cindy. Rest In Peace, until the next Windjammer sailing brings us together. Rest In Peace!!!

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david a white
December 31, 2021 at 9:11 am

What an honor it was to know you Phil. I’ll always remember our days growing up at Dwight Rich and Sexton High School and hanging out at Dine’s den.

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Gary hufnagel
December 31, 2021 at 10:05 am

What a great friend! Thank you for all the laughs, there were a lot of them!
I will forever cherish the memories. I will miss your dry wit and biting humor. You should have been on Saturday night live. Damn we had fun. Tell Bob we’ll all be there soon. God bless you brother.

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Richard Middaugh
December 31, 2021 at 1:15 pm

The final shift. Rest in peace old friend. Dick

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Nancy Borges (Winter)
December 31, 2021 at 1:17 pm

Nicki, I am so sorry for your loss, Phil will be deeply missed. I have so many great memories that I will always cherish. When Phil lived in our upstairs apartment on Cooper St, he’d come down in the morning for coffee. He would be so cheerful and knowing I wasn’t a morning person, he really played on that just to irritate me! He left me a voice mail recently saying “Nancy, I’m coming down for eggs and bacon….I hope the coffee is ready!” Phil even made me laugh thru voice mail! So many other memories spending time with your family and ours when the kids were small. Your house, our house, the Winter’s cottage on Lake Michigan and so many more. Rest easy my friend, until we meet again.

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Mitch Kobus
December 31, 2021 at 9:35 pm

I was shocked and saddened to learn of Phil’s illness and sudden passing. Phil was a good guy, humorous, and always a treat to be in German classes with, either at Dwight Rich or Sexton. My condolences to his family and his many, many friends. Rest in Peace mein Freund und Auf Wiedersehen.

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shawna payne
January 1, 2022 at 4:22 pm

When you really sat down and talked with Phil you’d know he was a kind, thoughtful, smart, introspective, wise, and compassionate man. He was loyal to the core, loved his daughter and grandson more than life itself, and truly cherished his friends. Phil, these were just some of your best qualities, yet you were also gifted with the ability to make anyone around you smile and laugh to the point of tears. Everyone should be lucky enough to have a Phil in their life. It was a gift to call you my friend. May you rest in the light of Christ Phil, love always, Shawna

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Judy Clarke
January 1, 2022 at 9:02 pm

the world lost a good man on the 28th. I remember going on a hayride in the 7th grade, my first date, with Phil. He sure aged better than the rest of us and always had a good story to tell. I was extremely sad to hear he missed his chance to get his stem cell surgery. My sincerest condolences to the family.If you measure your life by the number of friends you have, Phil died a very wealthy man.

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Melissa Moore
January 1, 2022 at 10:48 pm

Phil was a great loyal man! I’ve never met anyone who loved my dogs as much as I did! I thank him for all of the insurance, business, as well as personal knowledge I have gained from him! He was a kind soul who never expected anything from anyone but always wanted to give so much! He was truly one of those people you would never forget but know that he would always just appreciate! He was a very proud man and so proud of Nikki and Cam and would never let you know if he might be struggling! God rest your soul Phil! Ozzy misses you and so do I! Thank you for the great times at the school letting the dogs just run and play and thank you for the great conversations that we had! You will truly be missed! Love you!

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thomas
January 3, 2022 at 8:18 am

What a great friend growing up with walking to school Elmhurst and Dwight Rich, Playing baseball at the tree diamond at Elmhurst. Then later having drinks with Wick at Buddies RIP Phil

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Dan and Jeanne Smith
January 3, 2022 at 11:15 am

Our condolences to the entire family. Phil’s fight to the end shouldn’t surprise anyone. He was always firm in his beliefs and willing to fight for the causes he believed in. He will be missed and our prayers go out to the family in this difficult time.

Dan and Jeanne Smith

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Kimberly Gray O'Neill
January 4, 2022 at 1:02 pm

Condolences to Nicki (and family) on your loss. I worked with your father at Citizens Insurance in the late 80’s. He definitely was a memorable guy with a big sense of humor! I haven’t seen him in years, but the nice picture posted above, is exactly how I remember him. I do recall him often telling us silly stories about his “Nicki” and there was no doubt that he loved you deeply. May he rest in eternal peace. May time, family/friends and wonderful memories of your father, help comfort you in the coming days and ease your sorrow. Regards, Kimberly (Gray) O’Neill

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Sarah Adams Hoover
January 5, 2022 at 11:41 am

There aren’t enough characters in the comments section to capture everything there is to say about a guy like Phil. Insurance is not a very glamorous industry but Phil always made it fun. I considered him a friend and a mentor at work and was lucky enough to have him in the office next door during some very difficult days. I have so many great memories but one of my favorites was at his retirement when he was presented with a giant board that contained the most random items ever; it turned it out it was every item he ever threw at Brad, his right hand man and very close friend for so many years. How can you ever replace a guy like that? You don’t. But somehow you try to go on.

Nicki and Cameron, he talked about you more than you can imagine. He was so proud of both of you and I enjoyed hearing that pride in the stories he would tell. It seems like just yesterday Cameron was little and he was talking about going to his games and what the final score was. I cannot imagine what the last month has been like for you. I am so sorry; my sincerest condolences for your loss and may you find peace in the coming days.

I remember Phil talking about the trips he took and then asking which island was his favorite – he had said Grenada. I haven’t been there yet, but I plan to go someday and will have a drink in his honor. What an honor it was to know such a guy. When our little group gets together again for our usual ‘reunion’, it will never be the same without him. He will forever be missed.

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Karol Hufnagel
January 5, 2022 at 4:25 pm

Phil,
Forever a sweet smile and a gentle kindness towards me. We have shared so many memories. Some ups and some downs but forever a friend indeed! You loved your family, your friends…
You could really belt out a song…especially standing at the Windjammer bar! Never forgotten memory…of fun times.
I love you to the moon and back. I know you are one of the brightest stars in the night sky…I will be looking for you…
Karol

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Ann Chaffee
January 6, 2022 at 10:13 am

Phil was not only a customer but a friend here at Maurer’s. Our conversations here at work will be missed along with our visits by Tess. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

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Sally Sizemore
January 7, 2022 at 12:10 am

I fondly remember Phillip as a little boy, brother to my childhood friend, Marie. Nikki and family, I’m so sorry for your loss. Gone way too soon. R.I.P., Phil.

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George Lites
January 9, 2022 at 10:01 am

Phil you will be missed. Thank you for your friendship and fellowship.

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Mary Dine
January 11, 2022 at 12:48 pm

When we were kids Phil was like a second brother to me – so many memories. When Nicki was young and he brought her back to the neighborhood on Halloween they always stopped by to visit my mother Milda – it was one of the highlights of her year. I’m so sorry we didn’t stay in touch…time goes by too fast. So sorry for his family and all of us who knew him.

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