OCEAN CITY, Md. - An Ocean City icon passed away Christmas morning at the age of 95.
Shirley Phillips, a founder of Phillips Seafood, is now being remembered by her thousands of employees, friends, and most importantly, her family.
The late Shirley and Brice Phillips are best known for being pioneers and leaders in a growing industry here on Delmarva.
Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said, "They've built an empire and it was all started right here in Ocean City, and we will always be thankful to Brice and Shirley for all they did and all they gave back to Ocean City."
Back in the 1950's, the couple started something almost magical - a small seafood shack on 21st Street that would one day grow into a booming business. A company that would open processing facilities across the country and even in Southeast Asia.
Mayor Meehan said, "You know, they were the model. That's what everybody kind of followed here in Ocean City and then of course it expanded to Baltimore and other areas."
Shirley and husband Brice didn't just leave the community a model for success, they also left their family with some life-long lessons.
Joanna Phillips, granddaughter of Shirley and Brice Phillips, said, "A lot of the stories that we've been hearing have been about how she would throw herself into a busy night on the floor and seat tables and bus tables and help the servers with their trays and go and talk to all the tables."
Joanna added that she'll always cherish the way Shirley prioritized her employees.
"I think that one of the most important things to her as she was building her business was just that she viewed all of our employees in our Ocean City location as family. She would really mentor everyone and I think that's a huge legacy that she's left behind," she said.
Shirley's legacy, along with that of her husband Brice, are the things that make the news of Shirley's passing so difficult and are just some of the reasons that they will be deeply missed.
Joanna said, "I know that all of us grandchildren just looked up to her so much and just were so proud of the example that she set for us and the love she showed us is unmatched by really anyone."
A visitation will be held at the family home on 1578 Teal Dr. in Ocean City at noon on Saturday, December 30th. The funeral service will follow at 1:30 p.m.
- Dog tests positive for rabies in Kent Co.
- UPDATE: Seaford man pleads guilty for role in shooting death of 18-year-old man
- Man arrested on child pornography charges in Dover
- UPDATE: Mistrial declared in Sussex Co. rape and kidnapping case; Dover man out on bond
- UPDATE: Trial begins for one of six allegedly involved in 2017 murder of Salisbury man
- DSP: Body found in Dover; death investigation ongoing