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Philomena “Phyllis” Sabatini of Palm Desert, California; age 97

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Philomena “Phyllis” Sabatini

Palm Desert, CA – Surrounded by her loving family, on April 11, 2019. Age 97. (nee Lizzio) Formerly of Philadelphia. Loving and devoted wife of 64 years to the late Joseph Sabatini. Loving mother of Angela Vizza (Carmine), Joseph Sabatini (Trudy) and Sarah Scibona (Jack). Cherished grandmother of Jacqueline, Juli (Shaleece), Joseph (Deborah), Jeffery (Aileen), James (Gina), Ann Marie (Allen) and Alicia (Frank). Loving great grandmother of Joseph, Carmine, Crystal, Jeffery, Jimmy, Kendra, Billy and Anthony and great-great grandmother of Benjamin, Oliver, Giovanni, Zeonni, Milania and Leilani. Beloved sister of the late Salvatore Lizzio (late Catherine and late Elda). Cherished aunt of TJ Escott and his wife, Paula and Cathey Lizzio. Cherished cousin of Alfred Cavallaro, Marie Mannino, Mario and Eileen Cavallaro. Loving sister-in-law of Betty Sabatini.

Born on New Year’s Eve, 1922 Phyllis was festive by nature. She had a social spirit that endeared her to people. When she was old enough to talk, she would tell her mother in Italian “cappello” which means hat, that was the signal that it was time for them to go out.

As a young girl it was her mission to introduce her relatives who came from Italy to live with her and her parents to American culture and city life. She showed them how to make their way to jobs and night schools by subway, trolley and bus. All together under one roof they relied on each other’s strength and abilities. Phyllis understood this reliance from early on as a child when she and her parents and older brother took to the farm fields in New Jersey as share croppers to survive the Depression. The seclusion did not dampen her spirits rather it enhanced her fortitude and sense for adventure.

One day years later, post WWII she went to visit a distant friend of the family. The houses were attached, and she rang the wrong door bell. The house she went to belonged to her future sister-in-law. Here she met her future husband, Joseph Sabatini. Together they became Josie and Phil and remained that until Joe’s death in 2012.

Phyllis enjoyed music, dancing and travel, but these were only second to her passion, her family. Her husband, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren she nurtured throughout; all credit their chance for success to her. Joe would say of Phyllis; “I’m nothing without her”.

Everyone came to Joe and Phyllis’s house for Sunday and holiday dinners. Along with the children came friends and dates and eventually new family members. It wasn’t just the meal although, what a meal! It was the spirit of welcome from the people inside. Phyllis standing a diminutive 4’10” worked two kitchens, one upstairs and one downstairs. She feed many souls and nurtured many spirits never realizing how much she had given because for her there was always the next thing to do or one more place to go.

Phyllis's main interest was her beloved family, they gave her the greatest joy. She enjoyed music, dancing (she was always ready for a party or social event) traveling, food and wine especially when shared with family and friends.

Relatives and friends are invited to her viewing Thursday evening, April 25th from 6 to 8 PM and again on Friday morning, April 26th from 9:30 to 10:30 AM at the McCANN-HEALEY FUNERAL HOME: 851 Monmouth St., Gloucester City. Mass of Christian Burial Friday morning at 11 AM at St. Mary’s R.C. Church: 426 Monmouth St., Gloucester City. Entombment New St. Mary’s Mausoleum, Bellmawr.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution in honor of Phyllis Sabatini to SpArc Philadelphia, a family of organizations that support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Their Cultural Arts program has a dynamic curriculum that includes art, music, theater, dance and movement classes in an environment that fosters creativity and the discovery of a personal voice.

As Phyllis loved to dance, contributions will be used to provide dance classes to people of all ages with intellectual disabilities. When you make a donation, include a note saying whom it memorializes. Also add it on the notation line of the check or online donation form itself.

Donations can be made via check and sent to: SpArc Philadelphia, 2350 W. Westmoreland Street, Philadelphia Pa, 19140 or online via SpArc's website,

Condolences and Memories may be shared at under the obituary of Philomena Sabatini. Funeral Arrangements and Inquiries through: McCANN-HEALEY FUNERAL HOME Gloucester City. Ph: 856-456-1142


published | April 18, 2019