Maria “Marika” Phillips, 92, passed away peacefully, surrounded by love and her family, on April 25, 2022, at her home in Newtown Square, PA.
She was born on October 21,1929 to Petros and Despina Sarantis in the village of Mirmigi on the island of Xios, Greece. She immigrated to the United States in the 1940’s, settling in Pennsylvania.
She met the love of her life, James “Jimmy” Phillips on the steps of the local Greek Orthodox church in 1950. As the story goes, he fell in love instantly. Anyone who knew her can understand why; she was beautiful inside and out, caring, loving and warm.
He soon asked for her hand in marriage and in 1951 they began their life together. They welcomed sons George and Michael in 1952 and 1954 and then daughter Kleoniki, “Niki,” a decade later. Marika was a fiercely devoted mother and wife who worked tirelessly to support Jimmy in running the family business, a luncheonette in downtown Manhattan, and raise and care for their three children. She was a pillar of the Greek community and church, who radiated light and love and always had a positive outlook on life.
Marika spent the next five decades in Jackson Heights, New York at her and Jimmy’s family home and traveling back and forth between New York City, Pennsylvania and Upstate, New York. She cherished her time with her children and grandchildren and beamed with pride at their graduations, basketballs games, award ceremonies and school functions. She never missed a single thing.
Her later years, until her passing, were spent in Pennsylvania being deeply loved, doted on, and cared for by her family. She loved church, flowers, puzzles, getting manicures from her granddaughters, trips to Atlantic City, and the color “yellow.” Her faith in God, pride in her Greek heritage and unwavering devotion to her Jimmy and her family are her legacy. Maria was kind and loving beyond words and was the sweetest “manoula” and yiayia anyone could ever ask for. There is nothing she loved more than “everyone being happy and together,” as she would say.
She is survived by her devoted husband of 71 years, Jimmy Phillips and their two children and spouses: Niki and Gus Raptis, and George and Militsa Phillips, as well as five grandchildren, Ari, Sophia and her husband Panagioti, Maria, Mary, and Penny, as well as two great grandchildren, Kosta, or “Kostaki” as she affectionately called him, and Alexander. She will be missed by her beloved cousins, “koumbari,” “xoriani,” and friends in New York, Pennsylvania and Xios. She was preceded in passing by her beloved son, Michael, to whom she has now been reunited.
Truly the purest soul, she left this world as gracefully and sweetly as she lived, and we will miss her deeply and forever.
Friends and family are welcome to attend her viewing form 10am to 11am Thursday, April 28, 2022, at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 30 East Forge Rd, Media, Pa 19063. Her funeral service will be ant 11am in the church. Her interment will follow the service at Edgewood Memorial Park.
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