Philip M. Van Hoy

January 25, 2020

CHARLOTTE - Philip Marshall Van Hoy, 72, of Charlotte, died unexpectedly on January 25, 2020.
Phil was born on November 8, 1947 in Washington, D.C., and was the son of the late Dr. Joe and Helen Van Hoy. He was preceded in death by his brother, Milton Van Hoy.
He graduated from Myers Park High School, Duke University where he was in Sigma Phi Epsilon, and the University of North Carolina School of Law. He served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1973 to 1981. He was a long-time member of Myers Park Country Club where he served on the Board of Directors, The Charlotte Rotary Club, Charlotte City Club and Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Phil loved practicing law for over 46 years. Initially drawn to the practice by watching lawyer-related television shows in his youth, his professional focus throughout his career was on representing and counseling executives and public and private sector employers. Phil’s mission was to minimize the intrusion of the government and courts on employers, both large and small—a mission supported as the senior partner since 1989 in the law firm Van Hoy, Reutlinger, Adams & Pierce. He was frequently recognized for excellence in his profession, including The Best Lawyers in America, North Carolina Super Lawyers, Chambers USA, Forbes Magazine, and American Airlines’ Sky Radio. Phil held the AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell since 1987 and was the first employment lawyer named to the Business North Carolina Legal Elite Hall of Fame. He served on the North Carolina OSHA Review Commission and various offices in the Mecklenburg County, North Carolina Republican Party.
Phil is survived by Sylvia Van Hoy, his wife of forty-seven years, son Marshall Van Hoy and wife Luci and their son Hill of Candler, NC, son Travis Van Hoy of Asheville, NC, brother Houston Van Hoy and his wife Katherine of Charlotte, and canine companion Wyli Van Hoy.
A celebration of his life will be held at Myers Park United Methodist Church at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 1, 2020. The family will receive friends immediately following the service in Jubilee Hall at the church.
Phil’s professional accomplishments are exceeded only by his love of family and enjoyment of life. A world traveler, he accompanied friends and family on countless trips to Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Israel, Alaska, and many more places, foreign and domestic. Phil was a lifelong learner, loading up his well-worn Kindle with books about all the places he visited. Phil returned to his beloved home “on the river” at Lake Wylie and at Wrightsville Beach. Phil loved a good party, often setting the standard by hosting lively and well-attended celebrations of the Fourth of July, election nights, and the ACC Tournament. He delighted in bringing together people from all walks of life, enthusiastically making introductions and connections among people who would later find themselves, as the night wore on, setting off fireworks or firing a potato gun. Among Phil’s associations, he found particular delight with friendships in “The Steele Creek Mafia” and “The Huns”.
Phil was a life-long fan of Duke Basketball and any team that played against the Tar Heels. He loved dogs and was suspicious of anyone who didn’t. The Van Hoy dogs were the luckiest on earth, often treated to sausage biscuits and always welcome on the furniture, no matter what they might have rolled in outside. He could be seen every morning at “Dog Party” where he and Wyli’s canine friends and their respective owners would walk the golf course. Their portraits and collars of family dogs decorated Phil’s home, alongside the stuffed remains of dozens of assorted wildlife that had the misfortune of passing within the crosshairs of Phil and his sons. “Farmer Phil” used the nutrient-rich Lake Wylie water to cultivate bountiful crops of blueberries and tomatoes, often, to his chagrin, feeding local deer who managed to penetrate his elaborate defenses.
Phil was never at a loss for words. His encyclopedic memory for jokes provided just the right quip for any occasion. He was a gifted storyteller, eloquent and erudite, a teller of tales so compelling that it would be graceless to question if the particulars were strictly true. Phil was occasionally wrong, but never in doubt. He published so many letters to the editor, spanning several decades, that generations of Charlotte Observer readers felt they knew him personally. With the advent of the internet, Phil expressed himself via email, making generous use of the “forward” and “reply all” buttons. Whether haranguing Democrats or Carolina fans, he inspired friendly banter and grudging admiration among his vast network of colleagues and friends.
The greatest joy in Phil’s life, by far, was his family. He adored Sylvia, his partner in life, a rare individual whose love and energy matched Phil’s own. He relied on her completely, gratefully declaring “Sylvia takes care of all that” regarding every aspect of household affairs. It took a new friend mere seconds to recognize that Phil and Sylvia were a perfect match, their marriage a special gift. Phil was immensely proud of his sons, speaking often of Marshall’s steady kindness as a husband, father, and a skilled outdoorsman. Phil was thrilled when Travis attended Duke and excited to see him becoming a successful business owner. One of his proudest accomplishments was being an Eagle Scout, an honor he shared with both of his sons, all three of whom were members of Troop 3. He was over the moon for his grandson, Hill, whose precociousness and humor delighted him every day.
Phil was irrepressible, unforgettable and a true Southern Gentleman. His passing leaves a void in the lives of all who knew him.
The family requests donations be made to the NC Wildlife Endowment Fund for lifetime hunting and fishing licenses for youth. Payable to o N.C Wildlife, 1702 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699.
Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at

Share your memories & condolences


  • Charlie Daul

    Sylvia and Marshall , my condolences to you and your family. Phil was one of a kind and you were so lucky to share his journey. Go Duke!

  • Chase Saunders

    I remember Phil from his days at Myers Park High, days in law practice, socially, and as a Charlotte Rotarian. He was a man of high energy, integrity, duty, honor, and conviction. He was a student of history and its lessons. He was uncompromising in his sense of right and wrong. He was a rock in a world beset by stormy seas and protean winds.i recall a favorite quote by a prominent judge which describe how Phil lived his life....."All life is but action and passion. To not have participated in the action and passion of the age is to be risked to be adjudged not to have lived" . Phil lived a rich life full of action and passion. And he did it with a sense of humor and good cheer by which he will be long remembered.

    We wish extend to Sylvia and the boys our deepest condolences, Chase and Carolyn Saunders

  • Marty and Kim Miller

    Our deepest sympathy. Phil was a great man and will be sorely missed by all.

  • Joana Laura Zavaleta

    I had the pleasure to meet Mr. Phil for 3 years, he used to get lunch every Thursday at the place I work. He was always cordial, respectful and kind. He will be miss. Always a pleasure to take care of him. He always make sure to tell the rest of his group to take care of me (meaning that they better tip me well just like him) I always appreciate that gesture of him. He always asked about my kids and I really appreciate that from him. I'm still in shock to hear this sad news. He sure be miss and my sincere condolences to his wife Mrs. Silvia and rest of his family.
    Rest in peace Mr. Phil much love Joana :)

  • Skip Blythe

    Sylvia, I was shocked and saddened to hear of Phil’s sudden and untimely death. He will be missed by all who knew him! Pleas know that I will be thinking of you and your family during this sad time.

  • Thomas Mussoni

    On Thursdays during lunch, the Huns group would gather to talk all things politics from a conservative angle. Phil would preside from the head of the horse shoe table configuration, inwardly loving every moment, listening to many different conversations. He loved the Italian bread w oil and cheese and maybe marinara. But more so he loved the people For Phil, it was always only about the people. He was frequently if not always, the last to leave the lunch, enjoying those last few conversations. The shock of his absence is as devastating nearly a week later as it was the day we heard the news of Phil passing. Phil is forever physically gone but he will be with us, in our hearts and surely during discussions and debates about his expected position of current events. Phil was the very epitome, by way of personal example, of "To thine own self be true." So long conservation soldier. Rest peacefully Brother.

  • The Sternal Family

    Sending all of our love and positive thoughts to the family. Alek in particular is hoping that his great friend Hill will always remember his Grandpa and inherits some of the great gifts.

  • Ray Jolly

    Although I can't attend the funeral, wanted to express to you, Sylvia, my heartfelt condolences. I met Phil when he first come to work at Duke Power and enjoyed his company in and out of the office from then on. Spent many enjoyable hours playing cards and exchanging stories together. A first rate lawyer and even better companion with a great sense of humor. Will miss a "vast right wing conspirator" as his bumper sticker read. Ray Jolly

  • Edwin Saint Sing

    I never met Phil but I felt like I knew him through his Charlotte Observer editorial contributions. I shared and so much appreciated his views. I know that your family is terribly sad and shocked to have lost him at such a young age. I am very sorry for your loss.
    Edwin Saint Sing

  • Liz and Raymond Rogers

    Liz and I were across the street neighbors from Phil and Sylvia when we lived on Hampton Avenue in the mid to late 70's. As Carolina fans, we had a lot of fun with Phil, going back and forth as to which school was better in all aspects. We moved back to our home town of High Point in 1980 and, unfortunately have not seen the Van Hoys since. We're very sorry to learn of his death. We will be in Myers Park Methodist Church in spirit, if not in person.

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