Phillip Errico, 82, prepared family feasts

January 29, 2004|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Phillip Paul Errico, a retired painter and carpenter who prepared holiday feasts for his family and friends for several decades, died of complications from diabetes Jan. 22 at Doctors Community Hospital in Lanham. The Annapolis resident was 82.

Born and raised in Southeast Washington, he was an Army cook during World War II. He said that learning to feed 1,000 men trained him for the meals he would later prepare for smaller, more intimate groups.

Beginning in 1947, Mr. Errico was a carpenter, painter and sign maker at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, and later worked at the Treasury Department's Bureau of Engraving and Printing. He retired in 1976.

He started cooking holiday dinners after his wife of 22 years, the former Theresa Roll, died in 1969. Family members said he worried that his relatives would grow apart if someone did not take over the kitchen in her place and prepare a Thanksgiving meal.

"It's for the love of the family," he told The Sun for a 1999 article. "What else do you do it for?"

"He was not a fancy gourmet cook," his son, P. Michael Errico of Davidsonville, said this week. "He made good solid food that warmed you and made you feel good."

The article said Mr. Errico's Thanksgiving dinners "are memorable for his family not just for the sumptuous dishes he creates - eggplant parmigiana, lasagna, Italian meatballs and sausage, home-made pasta, just to name a few mouth-watering preludes to the conventional turkey, stuffing and mashed and sweet potatoes."

Mr. Errico enjoyed woodworking and did volunteer work for Villa Rosa Nursing Home in Mitchellville for 30 years.

He was married to the former Katherine Finnegan from 1976 until her death in 2002.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Tuesday at St. Mary Roman Catholic Church in Annapolis, where he was a member.

In addition to his son, survivors include a brother, Charles Errico of Crownsville.

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