John Phipps

John Phipps

Sunday, June 19th, 1927 - Sunday, April 26th, 2020
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John Lionel Phipps, Sr.

John Lionel Phipps, Sr. was born in Harlem, NY on June 19, 1927 and died at the age of 92 in Freeport, NY, on April 26, 2020 due to complications related to Dementia. John was born to the late Michael Victor Phipps, formerly of Trinidad, West Indies and Claribel Eulalie Reid, formerly of Jamaica, West Indies. He was the youngest of their three children, including Carmen Phipps and Barbara Phipps. When Claribel became gravely ill, the children were sent to live with their grandparents in Trinidad for several years. After Claribel’s death, the children returned to New York, met their new step mother Bernice Peck Phipps, and gained two beloved baby sisters Letitia Margaret Phipps and Patricia Mamie Phipps.

In 1945, at the age of 18, John was inducted into the U.S. Army and served at the end of WWII from May 26, 1946 to December 28, 1947. After his discharge he married June Maxwell and had two children Inge Marie and Lance Lionel. Their marriage ended in divorce.

John married Ella Mary Plummer on July 14, 1958 in Jersey City, NJ. John and Ella had two children, John Lionel Jr. (Lonnie) and Valerie Carmen. He had a third daughter Renay Bloom (Montreuil).

He was handsome, lovable, generous, a distinguished gentleman with a giggling laugh, and a confident, deliberate gait. As he walked, you could hear his shoes "brushing" along the floor.

A man of many artistic talents, John worked professionally for decades as a hair stylist in several salons in Brooklyn, NY, on Fulton Street and Nostrand Avenue. Over the years, as the shop moved to new locations, the friendliness of the customers and the camaraderie among the stylists remained. Known and beloved as solid to the core, his friendships with several of his closest co-workers, including Loretta King, Selma Cox, Dorothy Beaird, and Aunt Frazzie, continued throughout their lives. Through them and another friend, Beverly Kirkland, John became a hair stylist in civilian employment at the Bayview Correctional Facility in Manhattan until his retirement in January 2007.

As a many-talented artisan, John created pure art masterpieces and functional artworks such as wood chess and backgammon sets and intricately designed glass and metal lamps and jewelry boxes. He passed his artistic talents on to his children Lance, Lonnie and Valerie who displayed incredible talents as artists and artisans in their own right. Among her interests, Inge enjoyed collecting and displaying their creations. Renay, also an artist, trained in classical ballet and modern dance and creates, decorates, and designs in a variety of forms.

John’s interests were broad and he will forever be remembered by his nephews Donald and Kurt for teaching them how to build and fly model airplanes. He loved experimenting in the building and construction of his radio-controlled planes. Kurt’s memory was so vivid that he could recall the smell of the glow-fueled (made of castor oil) engine exhaust. Kurt was also wildly impressed with John’s white, Ford Thunderbird, convertible! His niece Michele remembered how John proudly stood in for her parents Barbara and Charles, who had passed away, by walking her down the aisle on her wedding day and how grateful she was that he was there for her.

Donald described the great warmth that he and Kurt felt every Saturday morning when they heard the doorbell ring, peered out the window, and reacted with joy "It's Uncle John!” Another weekend day would dependably begin with fun filled activity. More valuable than the fun, was John’s caring attention and love—a simple interest and proud confidence in who they were and who they could become over life’s journey. His teachings were not through his words, but his actions. He gave of himself by spending time and proved their value by asking for nothing in return except their commitment to their own healthy development. This nurturing helped build confidence and a sense of inner value in who they were and could become. That's why each weekend they happily and joyfully announced, "It's Uncle John!"

John’s sister Patricia is the last of his beloved siblings. Her memory of John and each of the others will last forever. She was the baby girl and John was the only boy. Having him as a very much older brother, meant she was a part of someone who was mature, unique, honest, brilliant in the arts and gifted in many ways. Patricia says that John had a tender way of setting you straight. She recalled that a letter had come to their father from her school about her playing hooky. She knew her father would kill her, so her sister Teeda (Margaret) intercepted the letter and begged John to go to the school with Patricia to save her from their father’s wrath. And so John did! Throughout her life, he was her confidante who would not only listen, but offer gentle advice. Once his little sister became a woman, John would have grown-up talks with her. He shared his love of art and led by example, impressing her the need to finish a project you started. She described his reassuring smile and his quiet love that shined through his shyness. She said you didn’t have to guess whether he loved you, you just knew; his soft gaze told you so! Loving him was so easy for her and John will always be in her heart and soul.

Fishing and going to flea markets were also among John’s great joys. After his retirement, he, Ella, Lonnie and Valerie traveled to craft fairs throughout the Northeast. Another favorite family activity was to go to the casinos in Atlantic City (thanks to Aunt Una) and Las Vegas with Valerie and her colleagues from the Nassau County Sheriff’s Corrections Department.

Ella and Valerie pre-deceased John, as did his daughter Inge Marie Phipps Phillips (Allen) and sisters Carmen Phipps Bottoms (Clifford), Barbara Phipps Bertrand (Charleston) and Margaret Phipps. However, he is survived by his beloved sister Patricia Phipps and his sons Lance Phipps and Lonnie Phipps and daughter Renay (Bloom) Montreuil. He is also survived by his grandsons, Randal Phillips (Jennifer), Cameron Phipps, Frederic Khai (Bloom) Montreuil, and Treh Alexander (Bloom) Montreuil. His granddaughters include Nhadia (Bloom) Montreuil and Dawne Phipps Frausto (Aldo I). He has four great-grandsons, Isaac Phillips, Aldo Frausto II, Malcolm Alexander Montreuil, and Frederic Khai Montreuil, Jr., and three great-granddaughters Tiajane Paler, Alisha Phillips, and Myra Alexis Montreuil. He also has one great-great-grandson, Edgar Morazon III.

In addition, he is survived by his beloved in-laws, nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews of the Arrindell, Bertrand, Bottoms, Doyle, Goody, Hector, James, Merchant, and Robb families. His beloveds also include the families of Nellie Smith, Elizabeth McNatte, Lessie Love, Sarah Newkirk, Anna Plummer, and Queen Esther Jones. And he will also be dearly missed by friends of the family including the Dorsey-Webb/Delanys, Marcials, Crowells, Sinklers, Littles, Alstons, Claiborne and Johnson.

Special thanks go out to Jasmine and Regina who provided home-care for John from 2014 to 2016 and to the staff of the South Shore Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Freeport where he stayed from 2016 to 2020. All of these people developed a rapport with John and provided great care.

John will be interred with Ella and Valerie on May 1, 2020 at Greenfield Cemetery, Hempstead, NY.
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Service Details

  • Interment

    Greenfield Cemetery
    650 Nassau Road
    UNIONDALE, NY 11553
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Dino , MIchele & Aniyah Delany

Posted at 10:21am
Wishing you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.
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Bonnie and Tawana

Posted at 09:05pm
With caring loving memories of "John L. Phipps Sr"
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