Brice Phillips Sr., the founder of Phillips Seafood with his wife Shirley, died today at age 90. He and his wife started Phillips Crab House in 1956 in Ocean City.
The press release didn't state the cause of death, but I was fortunate enough to have had a brief conversation with Mr. Phillips in April when I attended the grand-opening party of their newest restaurant, Bombora, in Ocean City, where the whole family was in attendance. He was in good spirits and seemed to be enjoying the well-wishers at the event.
He and his wife, both natives of tiny Hooper's Island, were childhood sweethearts who had been married for 68 years. They had two sons, Steve and Jeff.
The couple grew their original crab shack into restaurants and a multinational food company. Mr. Phillips was recently named in William Donald Schaefer's will, which included the tribute, "He is one of the nicest men I have ever met."
Photo of Brice and Shirley Phillips, courtesy of Phillips Foods, date not given