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Welcome to the memorial page for

Desima "Tootsie" Phillips

April 9, 2017
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To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven; a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.  Ecclesiastes 3

Good Evening, I want to  thank you all for coming, we are gathered here today in the memory of my mother, Desima Elouise Elina Phillips, affectionately known as Tootsie so that we may acknowledge and share both our joy in the gift that her life was to us, and the pain that her passing brings.  In sharing the joy and the pain together today, may we lessen the pain and remember more clearly the joy.

Tootsie was 65 when she passed away on Sunday April 9th in Virginia, USA.  It’s difficult to say goodbye.  We wish that we had more time, and perhaps during the time we had we had spent more of it together.  We wish that so much of her life had not been lost to her illness, that things could have been different for her, and for us.  While we know that she is at peace and that her struggles are an end, there is pain and sadness.  But even though she is gone, she has left the legacy of her love and perseverance.  The ways she touched our lives will remain, and I ask you to keep those memories alive by sharing them with me and with one another. 

Our mother spent her life caring for others, she never put herself before others.  She was willing to lend a helping hand or ear no matter the task.


Mom is survived by the four of us, her six grandchildren and mother Reene, as well as other relatives and friends.  This family, and her role as mother, daughter and grandmother, was the most important thing to Mom.  This is where she drew her strength and left her legacy.  She has always put us first. My mother was my rock.  When growing up my mother made sure my siblings and I were always taken care of.  She sacrificed her own happiness for ours.   I remember as a child she always made sure we had something to eat while she go to bed hungry.  When she came to the states her sole focus was to make sure my siblings that was still here in St Vincent never go without.  Her life had many obstacles, and she struggled during these past 3 years with a devastating illness.  Yet through it all, her love and caring for her family remained focus, and in so many, many ways, she was able to show that love to us.  My mother was a very strong, kind, gentle giving woman.  But don’t you dare cross her because she wouldn’t hesitate to let you know as she put it I’m a plain talk straight forward woman who tell you how it is.  These past three years were very difficult, but it was from my mom I drew strength. It was her strength that got me thru these past 3 years.  I was amazed at the way she handled the situation.  When we got the cancer diagnosis, most people would of instantly give up and don’t want to go on but not my Tootsie.  Her favorite words were me nah take on that me nah let that worry me, that nah bother me.  She continued with business as usual.  She worked up to the very last moment even though she didn’t have to because again putting us first she didn’t want to put any hardship on me.   Even on her death bed, I was sitting at the bed holding her hands trying to soothe her and she looked at me and said don’t you have to wash today? Me a mess up your day now?  I said toots don’t worry about it its okay. 

On her death bed my mother called her four children by name and she blessed each one of us and wished us well.  She told us not to fight over any possessions but to unite and to never forget the poor state we came from.  My mother loved us all.   


I’ll miss the times we spent together shopping, getting the house ready for Christmas, staying up Christmas eve baking and cooking.  Tootsie you may gone, but I’ll always have the memories. 

Keith, Marcie – Your sisters and brothers has passed the torch to you it’s your turn now please take good care of our mother, my Tootsie.  Until we meet again.

 Service Information

April 15, 2017

1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Keith Matthews Funeral Home
5665 E. Virginia Beach Blvd.
Norfolk, VA 23502

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