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Phil Pearce, legendary Upper Peninsula party store owner, dies at 64

John Carlisle, Detroit Free Press

Never do anything you don’t want to explain to paramedics.” — A slogan on the sign in front of Phil Pearce’s party store.

MARQUETTE — He was always off someplace, doing God knows what, while everyone looked for him and waited at his little store for him to come back. He had a dozen odd jobs, a tendency toward distraction and a schedule known only to him. But he’d always return at some point.

This time, sadly, he’s truly gone.

Phil Pearce, the legendary owner of Phil’s 550 party store in Marquette, died Wednesday after a short and sudden battle with brain cancer. He was 64.

► Read the story: U.P. party store owner becomes a cult figure

Few people might’ve ever heard of the owner of a tiny store on the edge of the northern Upper Peninsula, but Phil became world famous for no reason other than his personality, and the fact that someone put his face on a T-shirt that spread around the world.

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