Sunday was a long day – my friend and I drove from Phoenix out to LA to attend the memorial service for the recently passed away Joe Philley. If you played Ingress you probably know who Joe is. He was the community manager who was always keeping an eye out for everything Ingress related. He loved Ingress swag, ops that the players did, and the players themselves.
The memorial service was at a park that Joe Philley would often go to in San Pedro, CA overlooking the ocean and Catalina Island. The service was an open forum style where anyone could get up and tell stories about Joe for everyone to hear. The theme was the same across the board: that Joe was there for everyone, and always willing to help out anyway that he could. From friends, family, his roommate, and agents from both factions it was clear that Joe had a positive influence on everyone he interacted with.
All of the stories were similar, and talked about how Joe would light up whenever he saw people, how he knew everything about the agents at anomalies, how he would call Brian Rose daily asking him if he saw the artwork/ops/blood drive/charity events that agents were doing across the world. Enlightened and Resistance agents alike both shared their stories of their time they spent with Joe and what he meant to them. Joe’s passion for the community was something everyone came to know and love and no one would have imagined that it would have been taken from us so abruptly without warning.
Joe was always there if you needed him and would do anything in his power to assist anyone. I recall when I went to pick up Google Glass back in July of 2013. I pinged Joe Philly and Brian Rose seeing if I might be able to meet them at the Google office during my time picking up Glass. Joe was quick to reply, as he always was with hangouts or G+ pings, even though he had no clue who I was other than someone who played Ingress in Phoenix. He even gave me his cell phone number so I could give him a call when I finished learning all about Glass with the Glass guides. I was able to find him there, and he was excited to bring me into his office with Brian Rose and tell me about some of the plans they had going forward as long as I didn’t look at their brainstorming whiteboard on one wall of the office. He then gave me a tour of the Venice office showing me the different offices and what departments worked in which office and sent me home with a box of Ingress swag. I suggested that he come to Phoenix for an anomaly in the winter time because the weather would be perfect for it and he seemed to like the idea. Sure enough, when 13Magnus was announced, Phoenix was one of the sites. Joe came out prior to the event just to meet with the community leaders of both factions here. We met up at a restaurant in Scottsdale to hang out and have some food and drinks, and Joe brought a ton of swag with him to give to us to pass on to some of our other agents.
If you visit the Angel Gate Park in San Pedro you will find a memorial mission for Joe Philly on your Ingress scanner that you can complete in his honor. Joe was a great example of how you can take something as mundane as tapping on your phone and turn it into so much more by fostering a fantastic community with real interaction with people around the world. He made Ingress much more to the players than just another cell phone game. He cared about all the individuals playing, where they came from, and what their stories were. I still have no idea how he had enough time in his day to do everything he did every day.
Our deepest condolences go out to his family, his close friends, and all the Ingress agents out there that were touched by Joe’s endless kindness. If you would like to donate to a cause for Joe Philley, his daughter set up a donation fund on PayPal which will go towards the costs they are incurring with Joe’s unexpected death, and any excess will go to Joe’s grandson’s college fund.
Do you have any memories or stories about Joe? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.