By Carl Wilson, Jul 24, 2018
GREENSBORO — Philip Segal III’s personality was bigger than the biggest cigar. Big enough, even, to fill an ice rink.
And he was known for both.
Segal died on July 18, the day he turned 60.
“He was larger than life, he lit up the room wherever he walked in,” said Segal’s son, Philip Segal IV. “He was really loved in the community.”
Many cigar aficionados knew him as the owner of Havana Phil’s Cigar Company, a business he started in 2010 after careers in the chemical industry and real estate. He started it in a little shop on Battleground Avenue.
He later bought the old Cellar Antons building and stylishly remodeled and furnished it — keeping some of the iconic restaurant’s old features — to be the ultimate man cave complete with a humidor and smoking lounge.
“He left quite a legacy for us at Havana Phil’s and Greensboro,” said Segal IV, who now runs the shop.
But many more remember Segal for championing amateur ice hockey in Greensboro and helping to get the city a year-round rink.
A native of Greensboro, Segal began ice skating in 1962 at the Greensboro Coliseum. By the age of 5, he was playing hockey.
He helped start the N.C. State hockey team as a freshman there.
After college he continued to play hockey with a men’s amateur league.
Ice sports were important in the Segal household. Segal’s son Philip played on the U18 AA Raiders travel team. Segal IV said his dad was a USA Level 4 hockey coach and was on the coaching staff of his team when he was in high school.
Segal was a mentor to countless other kids on the amateur league.
In 1988, Segal started Greensboro Ice Sports — now Greensboro Youth Hockey Association — with Dick Michaud. When the ice at the Greensboro Coliseum wasn’t available, players drove over to a rink in Winston-Salem.
Segal wanted a permanent public ice rink in Greensboro for amateur hockey, figure and recreational skating.
He helped put together a deal with the city and private investors to build the Ice House in 1997 at 6119 Landmark Center Blvd.
The Ice House now hosts year-round men’s leagues and a youth hockey program, as well as figure and public skating.
Segal IV said his dad continued to play hockey until two weeks prior to his death.
Segal was active at Temple Emanuel, where he was a member of the Shofar Chorale, an ensemble that performed a traditional horn.
Segal IV said his dad was active in the Jewish community and frequently traveled to Washington D.C. as an advocate for Israel.
“He had great relationships with congressmen and senators,” Segal IV said.
Many remember Segal as an upbeat guy who did things in a big way and put others before himself.
“He’s going to live on, for sure. He was such a big footprint,” Segal IV said.
Philip Segal III is survived by his mother, Corinne Segal and husband Freddie Waxman; his wife, Kimberley Banks Segal; his children, Pepper Segal, Philip Michael Segal IV, and Elizabeth Segal; his brother, Paul Segal; and grandchildren.
Segal IV asks that donations be made to The V Foundation for Cancer Research.