Michael Phillips, businessman and father of four, dies suddenly at age 50
June 5, 2009

June 2009

Michael J. Phillips.
Michael J. Phillips, long-time home builder and rehabber, and owner of M&P Snow Plowing, died suddenly on May 13. He was 50 years old.

Born and reared in Chinatown, and most recently a resident of Bridgeport, Mr. Phillips was the cherished son of Robert (“Balbo”) and Sarah (nee Covelli); adored father of Michael, Natalie, Patrick, and Timothy; and brother of Darlene (James) Smith, Diane “Dee Dee” (Anthony) Valentino, Louis “Lou” (Nancy Pascente), and Marianne (Vincent) Scarlata. Mr. Phillips was the fond nephew, uncle, great-uncle, godfather, cousin, and friend to many.

As a young man, Mr. Phillips would earn a few dollars by hauling away debris at local work sites in Chinatown and began learning about the home construction business. In the 1990s, he ventured out on his own and began building both new homes and rehabbing older homes in the Chinatown, Armour Square, Bridgeport, Canaryville, and Bronzeville neighborhoods.

His sister, Diane Valentino, reflected on the self-made man her brother became. “Michael had impeccable taste and he was a real estate genius,” she said. “He dealt with people fairly and honestly and he became known as someone you could count on for an affordable and quality-built home.”

Mr. Phillips stayed close to his roots and his many friends in the Chinatown and Bridgeport neighborhoods. He was a graduate of Santa Lucia School and De La Salle High School. “Michael was my best friend,” recalled Joe “Howie” Thome, who grew up with Mr. Phillips in Chinatown. “He went out of his way to help people and always lent a hand whenever anyone needed anything. Michael loved when his family and friends were together.

“Michael was extremely generous in the community as well,” stated Thome. “He was always there to support the St. Rocco Society, of which we were fellow members, and for the other charitable organizations and funddrives in the neighborhood.”

Added his brother-in-law, Vince Scarlata, “Michael had a generous heart and he enjoyed life. We laughed every single day we were together. My mother used to say that if laughs were made of money, we would have been multi-millionaires.”

A devoted family man, “Michael lived for his children; they were the pride and joy of his life,” said his sister, Darlene Smith. “From the multiple nicknames he gave each of them to celebrating their half-birthdays, his life evolved around Michael, Natalie, Patrick and Timothy. When his own birthday would arrive, Michael would come home with presents for the kids.”

Mr. Phillips enjoyed taking his family on vacations and coached his children and other neighborhood youngsters in baseball and basketball.

Read the eulogy for Michael Phillips (PDF)

One Response »

  1. My sincere condolence goes out to the Balbo Phillips’ Family for the sudden loss of their son and brother. God Bless Him.

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