Louis J. “Louie” Phillips Sr., a long-time resident of the Chinatown and Bridgeport communities, died on Jan. 5. He was 68 years old.
Mr. Phillips was the husband and best friend of 45 years to Nancy (nee Pascente); father of Robert “Bobby” Phillips, Stephanie (Lupe) Rodriguez, and Louis Phillips Jr.; grandfather to John “Johnny” and Isabella “Bella” Rodriguez; son of the late Sarah (nee Covelli) and the late Bob “Balbo” Phillips; brother of Darlene (James) Smith, Diane “Dee Dee” (the late Anthony) Valentino, Marianne (Vincent) Scarlata, and the late Michael J. Philips; brother-in-law of Toni (Bill) Windt and Bill (Judy) Pascente, and son-in-law of the late Bill and the late Lena Pascente. He was uncle to many nieces and nephews. Visitation was held at Michael Coletta & Sons Funeral Home. A Mass of the Resurrection was said at St. Therese Catholic Church.
Mr. Phillips was a City of Chicago employee in the Department of Streets and Sanitation for many years. He served two terms as Business Manager of Laborers Union Local 1001. In May 2012, he brokered an agreement with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to create a new classification of workers to save the city $30 million, increase flexibility of staffing, and result in more efficient services and delivery to residents.
Son Robert “Bobby” Phillips offered his father’s eulogy.
“My mom and dad knew each other from childhood,” Bobby Phillips said. “My dad and my uncle Billy, my mom’s brother, were childhood friends. They all grew up together, went to school together, and as they got older started hanging out. When mom was a junior in high school, my parents started dating and just a few years later they were married. She was his Lucille Ball, always getting herself into some type of funny situation and he would get the biggest kick out of her. Nothing bothered him, it just rolled off his back. It was the perfect dynamic from day one; she drove him crazy, and he loved her like crazy.
“They were married for 45 years and made each other laugh every day. But the love they had for one another definitely outweighed the laughter and during these last couple of years, they showed the true definition of ‘in sickness and in health’ because they both took care of each other,” said Bobby Phillips.
“When I was a kid when I got the acting bug and my dad didn’t think twice about it; in fact he encouraged me by taking me to auditions and signing me up for acting classes. As I became more serious about my craft, he was with me every step of the way. He never missed a show when I was performing at Second City. When I finally made the decision to move to Hollywood, he didn’t just support my decision—he came along for the ride. My dad, brother Louie, and I drove cross country in four days, stopping at every boring sightseeing venue he had on his list. As nervous as I was, he made the trip unforgettable. He visited often over the last five years, and I treasured every moment. Now we all know the actor’s life isn’t exactly dependable, but my dad never once questioned my career choice or told me to try something more stable. And for that I’m forever grateful. I’m going to miss our daily talks about ‘the biz,’ him not only asking about my auditions but being my virtual scene partner when I was in a pinch. And mostly, him being the first person I’d call when I’d book a gig. He was my biggest fan,” his son added.
Mr. Phillips had a special devotion to the Catholic saint St. Rocco, and his family participated each year in the annual St. Rocco Festival in Chinatown and Bridgeport.