Jesse J. Phillips, an employee at the Sheraton Hotel at 17th and Vine streets, died Jan. 6 at Pennsylvania Hospital of throat cancer.
He was 54. Phillips, a resident of South Philadelphia, graduated from South Philadelphia High School in 1979. He worked in the room-service department in the Sheraton Hotel for the last 17 years. His longtime roommate, Jeff, said Phillips’ cancer had been in remission but, sadly, the disease returned and spread. Phillips and Jeff met several years ago at the Venture Inn, one of Phillips’ favorite Gayborhood venues, along with Knock. Jeff said Phillips was someone who enjoyed the little things in life and could get along with anyone he encountered. “He was just a good guy — one of the best guys you could meet in life,” said Jeff. “He liked to listen to music, eat in fancy restaurants, travel and work. He never bothered anyone.” Phillips had a passion for collecting music and had a vast CD collection. “He loved Elton John, classical music and, for a young guy, he loved all types of music: He loved Doris Day and Frank Sinatra. He loved everybody.” Jeff said Phillips was an avid traveler. “We used to go on a vacation once a year. He had many favorite places, including New York. He would go five to 10 times a year and bought a lot of his CDs in New York. He also loved to visit Princeton.” Phillips joined union Local 274 last year and immediately became an active member of the organization, which represents hotel workers. “He was kind of like a spokesman for the group,” Jeff said. “He would always speak up and was never afraid to say what he felt for him and his workers.” Jeff said Phillips also was an active member of the LGBT community in Philadelphia. “When there was anything to do with gay rights, gay marriage, he always wanted to get involved. He wasn’t ashamed of it,” he said. Phillips will be remembered for his kindness and integrity, said his roommate. “He was honest and always nice to people. I don’t think he said a bad word about anybody.” Phillips is also survived by his sisters, Marsha and Georgianne, and nieces and nephews. Phillips was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon.