Phyllis T. De Lucia
Phyllis Emily (Torello) De Lucia, 93, a former longtime resident of Madison, died Jan. 1 from the effects of COVID-19.
She is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, Anne and Ted Schiller of St. Augustine, Florida; a son, Jim of Billerica, Massachusetts; and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband Lou and her sister Alberta.
Phyllis was born and reared in New Haven and graduated from Commercial High School, in 1945. An article in the student newspaper on how to improve the school reported, “Phyllis Torello believes that because there are more girls than boys, there should be more sports that girls could participate in.” She worked as a keypunch operator in the 1950s, and held other clerical jobs until her retirement, in 1993. Phyllis loved the ocean, and spent countless hours sunbathing, socializing, and swimming at tiny East Wharf Beach in Madison (her husband claimed that salt water ran in her veins). She enjoyed reading murder mysteries, attending movies, listening to the jazz of Oscar Peterson and Dave Brubeck, and watching the New York Yankees, UConn women’s basketball, and figure skating.
Phyllis was completely devoted to her family. And she was its conscience. Her marriage to Lou, whom she met in 1954, spanned nearly 58 years. She once joked that the closest they ever came to a divorce was when she was learning, with some difficulty, how to operate the stick shift in his 1961 VW Beetle. Phyllis held strong convictions about fairness and justice, and instilled these beliefs in her children. She was loyal to her friends, saw the best in people, and always treated her children’s friends with kindness and affection. Phyllis was known as being unfailingly honest and law-abiding. But when she was a teenager (and had completed what she considered enough driving lessons), she drove unaccompanied to the Department of Motor Vehicles to take her driving test. She passed, and then drove home as a licensed driver. When Phyllis told this story, in her late 80s, she added “I used to have a lot more nerve when I was younger.”
Phyllis was a devout Catholic, who attended Mass at St. Margaret Church, in Madison, for 50 years. A memorial Mass will be scheduled for a later date. Burial will be private. If you wish to make a charitable donation in honor of Phyllis, consider Save the Sound (savethesound.org). Arrangements are with the Hawley Lincoln Memorial, Guilford.