Eileen R. "Mimi" Philips, a homemaker and volunteer who enjoyed music, died of cancer Monday at her Richmond, Va., home.
The former Roland Park resident was 77.
The daughter of a Ford Motor Co. assembly line worker and a factory worker, Eileen Rose Wade was born and raised in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y.
After graduating in 1952 from Franklin K. Lane High School in Brooklyn, she married Clifford J. Philips, who was serving in the Navy.
The couple moved to Bel Air in 1970 after Mr. Philips, who later became an accountant with Western Electric Corp., was assigned to the company's Hunt Valley office. They moved to the Roland Springs neighborhood of Roland Park in 1993.
Mrs. Philip's life, said family members, was defined by Luke 12:48: "For of those to whom much is given, much is required."
"That became a life motto for Eileen," said her son-in-law, Patrick J. McCormick III of the Lake Falls Village neighborhood of Baltimore County.
"She was a compassionate person and a wonderful woman. She always looked on the bright side of things," said Molly Hoffman, her longtime friend and former Bel Air neighbor.
While living in Harford County, Mrs. Philips and Mrs. Hoffman volunteered with Birthright of Maryland.
"We were helping through counseling pregnant women who weren't married and were having problems dealing with their situation," said Mrs. Hoffman.
"We tried to help them make good decisions and help with medical care, and medical care after their babies were born," she said. "We were trying through counseling to help them get through a difficult time."
After moving to Roland Park, Mrs. Philips and her husband became active members of SS. Philip and James Roman Catholic Church on North Charles Street.
While Mr. Philips kept the church's books, Mrs. Philips was able to indulge her passion for music by singing with the choir.
"They joined Philip and James when I was pastor. She loved to sing and had a great love for liturgical music," recalled the Rev. William A. Au, who is now pastor of the Roman Catholic Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Mount Washington.
"They wanted to give back to the community and were very generous in giving their time. Eileen was a person who always had a positive attitude toward challenges," said Father Au. "She was always looking for the good."
An opera buff, Mrs. Philips took the nickname "Mimi" from Giacomo Puccini's character in the opera "La boheme."
Her grandson, Clifford McCormick, suffers from cerebral palsy, and was enrolled in Kennedy Krieger's Physically Challenged Sports Program.
"My son became an excellent wheelchair basketball player and was on the wrestling team at Towson High School," said Mrs. Philips' daughter Geralyn P. McCormick of Lake Falls Village. "And she was a big supporter of the program and supported Cliff and the other disabled young athletes."
Gerry Herman is the director of the program. He said that Mrs. Philips was "very committed to Cliff and got involved in our program. She saw how it changed her family's life and how it gave confidence to her grandson.
"Eileen always attended all of our special events and supported us financially and all of our teams," he said.
Her husband, who also was an actor and made numerous appearances in "Homicide: Life on the Street" and in John Waters' film "Pecker," died in 1999.
For the last seven years, Mrs. Philips had lived in Richmond.
A funeral Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday at SS. Philip and James Church, 2801 N. Charles St.
In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Philips is survived by a son, Clifford G. Philips of Richmond, Va.; three other daughters, Jane M. Windley of Laurel, Kathleen G. Philips of San Diego and Laura P. Beasley of Cream Ridge, N.J.; 10 other grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun