MIDDLETOWN, NJ – There were three generation of family and friends at Care One at King James Sunday to help Phyllis Vitaco celebrate her 90th birthday.
The diminutive and ever-smiling lady, a former fashion shop owner in Red Bank, has been at Care One for approximately ten years because of a series of medical issues, and her two daughters, six grandchildren and nine great grandchildren were all there to share cake, ice cream, balloons, songs and laughter with a lady known for her gentleness and docile personality at the care center.
Phyllis, a native New Yorker, and her husband, the late Patrick Vitaco, moved to Monmouth County when Patrick was transferred by Bendix Corporation, where he was employed as a supervisor in data processing, to their facility in Red Bank. When the company moved to Eatontown, he continued his employment there until his retirement many years ago., He died in 1981.
Phyllis, whom her daughters describe has always having had a Type A personality and a lot of energy, worked for Mildred Spector women’s clothes, then later at Donna’s Fashions on Broad St. before opening her own women’s dress shop, Peridot on Monmouth St., all in Red Bank. Her long time friend and employee at her shop, Barbara Parker and her husband, Jeep, of Colts Neck were on hand for Sunday’s celebration. Barbara had worked 50 years with Phyllis, first at Donna’s, then at Peridot. The women continued their close friendship through the years since the shop closed. Even after she retired from her own store, Phyllis remained active in the fashion world, working at Red Bank department stores in retail sales.
Daughters Janice Corradino of Oceanport and Patrice Vitaco of Toms River spent time Sunday laughing and talking about their mother’s changes through the years She was always a strict disciplinarian when the girls were small, strict when they were teenagers, and even as adults, frequently told them how to dress or made suggestions as to what they should wear. Now, with her calm and serene attitude, Phyllis laughed as she held her mom’s hand and said, “I’m not afraid of her anymore.”