Phil Paligraf Dies in One Car Crash in Montgomery County

by Kent Sterling

UnknownThere are a lot of morons in media management these days – dopey folks who earn big coin for eliminating jobs without vision or compassion.  As a regional vice president for Comcast and previous work as general manager for WTTV-4, Phil Paligraf was never one of those guys.  His death is a shocking reminder that tomorrows aren’t guaranteed.

He died as the result of a single car crash in Montgomery County.  He was a young 58.  His family reported him missing when he didn’t return on time as he was returning home from a trip to Crawfordsville.

To imagine the increased levels of worry as the minutes ticked by until finally a call was made to the police is unimaginable, and then the heartbreak of learning that the worst fears were justified should send us all to our knees to request strength for his wife Meg.

Phil and I were dads of Cathedral basketball players at the same time, and we ran into each other at games quite often.  I worked as a radio program director at the time in Indianapolis, so we would talk about our sons, hoops, and media.  He was always a fun parent to talk to, and always so proud of Patrick, who could flat out shoot.

He has another son, Matt – a sophomore at Cathedral next month, who plays basketball and can also shoot it.  My son was lucky enough to coach Matt this year as a junior varsity assistant, and when he told me their was another Paligraf in the pipeline, I asked, “Can he shoot?”

Ryan answered, “What do you think?”  There aren’t many certainties in basketball, but Paligrafs being able to drop three-pointer after three-pointer is one of them.

I would show up for games when I was in town to watch Ryan coach, and had a chance to talk to Phil a few more times.  His thoughts on media were always sound, smart, and honest.  His work at WTTV-4 and Comcast set him apart among his peers.

He will be missed as a media company leader, and as good company at Cathedral basketball games.

23 thoughts on “Phil Paligraf Dies in One Car Crash in Montgomery County

  1. Bill Clossin

    I played high school golf against Phil – he played for Crawfordsville and I played for Frankfort. I do not remember many kids from those days, but I always remembered him.

    Such shocking news and what a tragic death. My sincere condolences to his family. From all I have read, he was one of the really good guys.

  2. matt bruening

    What a fun, insightful presence Phil was at the Xavier baseball games the past several years, up until Patrick’s graduation this past spring. Quick wit and insight throughout the games, and fun dinners following the games. Phil was often asking about our other kids as well. We lost a terrific guy today.

    Prayers and heartfelt condolences from the Bruenings and the entire Xavier baseball community.

  3. Bob koehne

    Phil was an awesome Dad, coach, business leader and to me a great friend and business partner. Phil will be missed.

  4. Steve Russo

    Very well said, Kent. I knew Phil personally and worked with him throughout his career. As an intelligent gentleman who always dealt with integrity and honesty, Phil was indeed a rarity in the broadcast management business. He was a really good man.

  5. Jim Fasone

    A big loss!! I have known Phil throughout his broadcast career and more recently as a friend and client who I have worked with over the years at Comcast managing their real estate portfolio. He was a very insightful businessman and always treated his peers with great respect. His humor would always make a business meeting enjoyable. Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family.

  6. Mike Martin

    Well said Kent. Seeing Phil always brought a smile to my face as I knew I was at a good place. We all will miss him.

  7. Steve Simonetti

    Phil was my fraternity “son” at Butler and has been a great friend for over 30 years. He was also wonderful father and husband, and was loved and respected by all who knew him. He leaves behind a family that was his pride and joy, every day and every way. He was as proud of them as they are of him. He will be sorely missed. God Bless the Paligraf and Monserez families during this tremendously difficult time.

  8. Lynda Hedberg Thies

    I had the privilege of being hired by and working for Phil at WTTV. And I can say he was not just my boss, but a mentor, friend, and the brother I never had. Everyone of my coworkers felt the same way, he just flat out (a Phil-ism) knew how to treat people and the Dr. Seuss book in his office said it all, “Oh the Places You Will Go!” Blessings to Meg, Patrick, Marissa and Matthew and may Phil’s legacy offer you comfort in the days and weeks ahead.

  9. Nancy Wise

    Our ad community lost a rare professional who will never be replaced. As a media planner/buyer who has had the privilege to work with Phil over the last 15 years, I have been – and will always be – amazed at his genuine and rare approach to selling.

    Phil brought out the best in people.

    God bless his family and colleagues.

  10. mike freed

    What a tragedy, we are so sorry and pray for Meg and the family. Phil was an outstanding man and coach. He coached my youngest for 12 U, 13 U, and 14 U Indiana Mustangs baseball. All of us will miss his personality and positive outlook on life !

  11. Caryn Manning

    Kent- thanks so much for writing this. I shared with my sales team and we found it very comforting.
    Phil was a wonderful man and a great leader.
    We are praying for him and his family.
    We’ll miss him more than words can convey.

  12. Dan Diehl

    This is truly sad news, you could tell Phil loved to work with kids and his people at Comcast. We pray for Meg and the family, Phil will be missed.

  13. Notyouraveragecarmelmom

    Phil was from my hometown and a stand out even as a teen. So very sad to hear of his death.

  14. Pam and John Bellamy

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Meg,Patrick and all of the Paligraf family. We were blessed to get to know Phil at Xavier
    University,where our son played baseball with Patrick. The Xavier Baseball Team and parents were all like a “Big Family” and Phil will be truly missed but never forgotten.
    The Bellamy Family

  15. Danny O'Malia

    Cathedral and Xavier baseball as well for Patrick. Just saw him at X/ Butler series in June. Great guy. RIP Phil and best to the family.

  16. Daniel Cohen

    What horrible news.

    I grew up with Phil in the business. We both started as AE’s at TV stations owned by River City Broadcasting.

    We moved up the food chain, both getting managerial jobs…learning together.

    Phil was full of life…My sympathies to Meg, Patrick, Marissa and Matthew

  17. Brent Close

    Phil was the rare person who would have a genuine conversation with ANYONE. I feel privileged to have known him.

    Prayers to the Paligraf family.

  18. Pete Smith

    So sad to learn of Phil’s death. I really enjoyed my conversations with Phil, and I could tell his sincere passion to coach kids. He was a real genuine person who knew how to related to people. Thanks for writing this Kent.

  19. Tony Sawyer

    Phil and I were pals and roommates for two years at IU in Bloomington. As young men we shared a lot of good times and adventures. He owned a’64 lincoln continental, and I had ’65 caddy Sedan Deville. We used to work on those cars together and would race them when we had break from school as he went North to Crawfordsville and I to Greencastle. I I saw Phil for the first time in twenty years, a couple of years ago , in Indy , when we got together for a drink. Ive been in Houston, Texas since School. Although a lot of time had passed it wasn’t two minutes into the conversation until we were hashing the old times and it was as if no time had passed between us. Phil was like that, always loyal to his friends, and I could see in our last meeting that he was very devoted and proud of his wife and kids. My brother called me this morning at six, and told me he heard it on the news. I will miss my other brother, and he and his family are in my prayers.

  20. Matt Will

    As a fellow Cathedral basketball dad, I had the pleasure of knowing Phil via our mutual dedication to our sons and the Cathedral program. His presence will be sorely missed and the void he leaves in the lives of his family and community cannot be replaced. His family is in our prayers and may his soul be granted eternal rest with God.

  21. Lisa Elwell

    Our son, Mark called us Sunday with this sad, sad news. He & Patrick played baseball and were housemates the past two years. The Paligrafs were a huge part of the Xavier BB Family. I always looked forward to Phil & Meg arriving to a game because they were full of wit, fun, & love. My heart goes out to Meg, Patrick, Maurissa, & Matthew. God give you peace in the days ahead. You were so blessed by such a great man. Love to all.

  22. charlie wilson

    I worked at the Fort Wayne Comcast Spotlight office, Phil was one rare individual, great person, coach, leader, had great sense of humor and knew how to use it, my thoughts and prayers go to his family & friends, he left much to early…….


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