Fedele Phil Infelise
One of Long Beach's biggest boosters died unexpectantly on May 24. Fedele "Phil" Infelise was born in Chicago on January 15, 1925, to Antonio and Josefina Infelise. He graduated from McKinley High School in Chicago and attended the University of Dubuque in Iowa. Phil played basketball at both schools during the set-shot era. Phil served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in Europe during World War II. But before shipping out, he married his girl, Mary Vincenza Moretti. They would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this coming August. Phil and Mary had three children: Josephine (who died in 1993), Phillip and Robert. In 1952, Phil and Mary bought a house in Long Beach in what had been a bean field. They have lived there ever since.
Phil's career in banking spanned 50 years, including 35 years with the Bank of America and later at Queen City Bank in Long Beach. He was active in various Optimist Clubs and related charities, including the Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services in Los Angeles. Phil spent 55 years on the board of directors. While serving as board President in the 1970s, he lead the charge to raise the money needed to build an L.A. County high school at the Optimist Youth Home. During the 1960s, Phil was elected governor of the Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Southwest states.
But Phil's greatest impact may have been in his adopted home town. In the 1990s, he was appointed by the then-Mayor to chair the Queensway Bay Citizen Advisory Committee, which played a major role in the redevelopment of the Long Beach downtown shoreline. Phil also served many years on the Long Beach Civil Service Commission, including a term as President. He was also active in the Long Beach Century Club, and St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church. In retirement, Phil volunteered with the Mended Hearts program at Long Beach Memorial Hospital. His photo is currently on display in the lobby as the Hospital's 2013 Volunteer of the Year.
Phil is survived and greatly missed by Mary; Phillip and his wife Phyllis; Bob and his wife Linda, grandchildren Kadidja, Payson, Allegra, Gioia, Tyler and Whitney; his sister-in-law Chancy Henneman and brother-in-law Dan Cucci; and many nieces and nephews.
Phil loved all things Italian. A truly great meal had to include at least a side of pasta. He claimed to speak Italian (although there is some evidence to suggest otherwise), and was quick to assume that pretty much anyone who spoke with an accent had to also be Italian. But Phil was also quick to point out to anyone and everyone that Long Beach is absolutely the best place on earth to live. With his daughter once again by his side, we're sure Phil has finally found an even better eternal home.
Funeral services and a mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 31, at St. Maria Goretti Church, at 3950 Palos Verde in Long Beach. A burial service will follow at the All Souls Catholic Cemetery, at 4400 Cherry Avenue in Long Beach. A memorial service is being planned. Please sign the guest book at www.luybenfamilyd-m.com. Luyben Family Dilday-Mottel Mortuary
Published in the Long Beach Press-Telegram on May 29, 2014