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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


A calm presence on the "Red Line"

Phil Neville dies at 60

Philip Neville Jr., a native Minnesotan who played hockey for the Sun Valley Suns during the team’s early years and then became a well-respected restaurateur in Boise, died Wednesday of cancer in Boise.

Neville, 60, played for the Suns from 1978-81 and scored only one goal. But his lengthy hockey experience and wisdom about the sport and life in general attracted a diverse group of friends who have remembered him this week.

Suns player Phil Neville in 1979. Express file photo

He was perhaps best known in the Wood River Valley as being the Suns color commentator known as "Red Line," for the KSKI radio broadcasts of Suns games in the 1980s. He teamed up with Chris Levitt, known as "Sal Check," to present lively game commentary.

"Phil was everybody’s best friend, always a calm, steadying and wise influence in whatever he said and did," said Levitt, who worked with Neville on the Suns broadcasts for eight years. And Neville was known to have a little fun.

Neville’s hair was prematurely gray and he loved his gin and tonics. So, on his 40th birthday back in 1983, about 30 friends all sprayed their hair gray and poured gin and tonics and greeted him with a surprise party at his home. "Phil had a great time," Levitt said.

Battling cancer with experimental treatments the last few years, Neville nevertheless joined Suns alumni for a friendly hockey game against the Boise Blades in Boise last June. It was the last time he got together with his old Suns pals.

Former Suns player Mark Broz of Boise said there are preliminary plans for a 24-hour charity hockey game to be played this fall in Boise, in Neville’s honor.

A memorial party will be held Sunday, May 16 from 3-7 p.m. at Neville’s last work place, the downtown Bardenay Restaurant in Boise. A wine aficionado and purchaser in recent years, Neville also operated the Brick Oven Beanery, Ducks in ParkCenter, and Neville & Neville restaurants in Boise. Survivors include his wife of 17 years, Kathleen.

A complete obituary appears on page A-20 of the printed edition of the Wednesday, May 12, 2004 edition of the Idaho Mountain Express.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.