Philip T. Varricchio August 23, 1922 - May 13, 2017
Philip T. Varricchio, 94, of Allentown, passed away quietly, on Saturday, May 13, 2017, in Fellowship Manor, Whitehall, Pa. Born in Allentown, Pa., on August 23, 1922, he was the youngest of four children of Luigi Varricchio (of San Leucio del Sannio, prov. di Benevento, Italy) and Maria Grazia Gallo, (of Casalbore, prov di Avellino, Italy). He was the husband of the late Ida M. (Quigg) Varricchio, with whom he had shared over 50 years of marriage, together having raised their five children, in Allentown, and on a farm in Barto, Pa. In his later years, he enjoyed homes in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Poconos, Pa., and settling finally in Las Vegas. The Varricchio family has enjoyed bustling households of children, grandchildren, and friends.
He was a graduate of Allentown High School, Class of 1939; his nickname was “Flash.” In 1943, he graduated from Lehigh University, and remained an active alumnus, attending events even through the last year of his life. He received his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California and became a licensed CPA in California, Pennsylvania, and years later, in Nevada.
At the commencement of World War II, Philip’s sense of duty compelled him to attend the US Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School in New York, and in 1943, soon joined active forces during World War II in the South Pacific, navigating a fleet of landing vessels, and later recovering US POWs from prison camps in Singapore. He would again resume his active naval duties during the Korean War, participating in the naval delivery of US Marines in invasion of Inchon. He remained ever moved after witnessing the starvation, and suffering sustained by combatants, and civilians. He was a member of the Lifetime Naval Reserve Association, retiring as a Naval Commander in 1973. He remained loyal to his naval duties, and continued after retirement, to assist potential candidates to gain admission to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Despite his long commitment to the armed forces, and active duty, he was keenly aware of the human costs of conflict between nations, and the ease to which such conflict could be ignited, commending considered deliberation before taking undertaking military options.
In 1953, his accounting practice was started in the home that he built in Allentown, Pa. His practice over the next thirty years became one of the largest solely owned accounting practices on the East coast, its clientele representative of the many growing businesses of the time, particularly the garment industry, which though based in NYC, relied upon the many factories located throughout Eastern Pennsylvania. Providing accounting services at that time compelled long drives through snow and ice to visit the factories in the many small coal towns, such visits being rewarded and comforted by the Italian cooking and baking maintained in such communities. In the late 1970s, providing financial services to the heavyweight boxer, Larry Holmes, allowed for visits to Las Vegas, sharing in the victory celebration after Holmes defeated Ken Norton at Caesars Palace in 1979 for the world title belt. His accounting activities would remain active until he retired his license at the age of 90. His children would often accompany Philip in the course of his business travels.
A lifetime commitment to the Catholic church, his family and community, education, and physical exercise, guided and tempered his patriarchal obligations. He, together with his wife, Ida “Sandy” Varricchio, enjoyed travel, social events, golfing, music, dancing, and visits with their children and grandchildren. It was a great loss for the family when she passed away in 2007.
Philip was a member of St. Thomas More Catholic Church, in Allentown and in Las Vegas, NV, and an active member of the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard. He was a member of the AICPA, PJCPA and the Quiet Birdman. Philip was a member of Masonic Blue Lodge # 720, Lehigh Consistory and the Shriners, Dallas, PA. He served as the Chairman for the March of Dimes, Treasurer for the Jaycees and the North American Republican Club. He received his 4th Degree with the Knights of Columbus in Florida. While in Nevada, he was an active supporter of the arts, and often participated in organizations such as the Las Vegas Philharmonic Guild, and the Nevada Ballet.
Philip was a lifelong student of flying, sailing, boating, fishing and hunting and always enjoyed visits with his family, particularly if it included warm weather and water. He lived an energetic and full life to the end, greeting each day as a new beginning.
Philip is survived by four of his children, his daughter, Judge Michele A. Varricchio of Allentown, Pa.; sons, Robert H. of Pittsburgh, Pa., Attorney Philip T. of Las Vegas, NV, and Dr. David J. of Bozeman, MT; 16 grandchildren and 1 great-granddaughter. He was predeceased by his son Gregory L. Varricchio in 2016 and his brothers Louis J. and Frank Varricchio and his sisters Jean Locher and Mildred Eckert.
Services: A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 A.M. Friday in the St. Thomas More Catholic Church 1040 Flexer Avenue, Allentown. Calling hours are 7:00 – 8:30 P.M. Thursday in the Stephens Funeral Home, Inc. 274 North Krocks Road, Allentown and 9:30 – 10:30 A.M. Friday in the church. Interment with military honors will be in the Resurrection Cemetery, Wescosville. www.stephensfuneral.com.
Contributions: In lieu of flowers, please direct memorial gifts to the Lehigh University Memorial Scholarship Fund at Lehigh University, Development Office, 125 Goodman Drive, Bethlehem, PA 18015.
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