Obituary: Philip Okun, 72

Obituary: Philip Okun, 72

Dr. Philip Okun, 72, of Douglasville passed away peacefully Friday, March 25, 2016, at home.

Born in Richmond, Va., to Cantor Morris and Helen Okun, he lived there until graduating from the University of Richmond and the Medical College of Virginia before moving to Kansas City to complete his medical internship at the University of Kansas, where he met his first wife and mother of his children. He later enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed as a major in San Antonio before moving to Atlanta to complete his medical residency at Emory University; he remained in Atlanta throughout his life.

Phil was profoundly committed to the values and practices of Conservative Judaism instilled in him by his parents and grandparents, especially in regards to serving the Jewish communities in which they’ve lived. His grandfather Adolph Katchko was a cantor at Congregation Ansche Chesed in New York whose influence is still felt in American cantorial liturgy. His father, Morris, was the cantor at Temple Beth-El in Richmond, and his mother, Helen (née Katchko), was the temple’s senior choir director. Both of them served for more than 40 years. He remained very close to his sister, Judith, and regularly traveled between Atlanta and Richmond to participate in High Holiday services at Temple Beth-El, which included leading overflow and alternative services between 1960 and 2015 with his sister and in later years with her son, Michael Belinkie.

Phil was equally passionate about his professional life as a child psychiatrist at numerous hospitals and clinics, as well as his own private practices in Atlanta. He worked tirelessly to help abused children overcome their traumas and become well-adjusted individuals. However, nothing gave Phil more joy than spending time with his family. He regularly spoke to and visited his adult children and their families in St. Louis and Los Angeles. He eagerly looked forward to annual trips to Hilton Head Island, S.C., to relax with his children, granddaughter, sister, brother-in-law and nephews.

He is survived by his sister and brother-in-law, Judith and Louis Belinkie; son Joel Okun; daughter and son-in-law Sherry and Derek Rudnak; and granddaughter Maggie Okun. Sign the online guestbook at In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the charity of your choice. Funeral services are at 12:30 p.m. Monday, March 28, in Richmond at Temple Beth-El. Interment follows at Beth-El Cemetery. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.

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