This memorial was created in memory of Dr. Maria Pia Phillips. Tom Phillips and the rest of the family invite you to enjoy her life story and leave your own stories and a picture or two.

Pia’s memorial service took place at 10:00 AM on Saturday, May 7th, at the Claremont United Church of Christ in Claremont, California.  Pia's service was a celebration of her life, for as she enjoyed her cousin Mauro’s celebration service, this is what she wanted.  Though she understands our sorrow, she preferred to hear our laughter.

In lieu of flowers and other gifts, memorials are invited to one of Pia’s favorite charities, the Boys and Girls Club of Pomona Valley, 1420 South Garey Avenue, Pomona, CA 91766 or online at  

Pia and Tom's families deeply appreciate your support. 



Posted by Junia fausta Klein on April 29, 2021
Tu ed io sul motorino,
Latina anni settanta,
In faccia il tiepido vento
Nel mio cuore, vivo, sento.

I tuoi occhi, Pia, brillanti
E le nostre allegre risate
Sono eternamente istanti
Nell'infinito più bello sugellate.
Posted by Chris Vander Veen on April 28, 2021
Maria - It doesn't seem like it has been 10 years since your beautiful smile and quick laugh have been gone from us. You are still missed but you are with your beloved Tom.
Posted by Junia fausta Klein on May 14, 2020
Maria Pia, i nostri compleanni avevano una settimana di differenza. Tu il 14 maggio, io il 7 maggio. Non potrei mai dimenticarlo. Buon compleanno amica mia, in Cielo dove sei.
Posted by Junia fausta Klein on April 28, 2020
Pia, amica mia, sei sempre viva nel mio cuore, viva come quando a 14 anni andavamo in giro per Latina col motorino.... Ti voglio bene per l'eternità! Junia
Posted by mel boynton on May 14, 2019
Pia is still brightening our lives with her smile and laughter. She and Tom left us too soon, but they taught us how to live every day with love and caring.
Posted by Junia fausta Klein on May 14, 2019
Buon compleanno, Pia! Sei sempre nel mio cuore!
Posted by Tom Phillips on May 14, 2017
It is Pia's Birthday and it is Mother's Day! Two reasons to remember and honor her! Not only was she amazing wife to me, but an awesome mother to her son! Though she spoiled him way too much, I could never say anything, because she also spoiled me! Happy Birthday, Happy Mother's Day, Amore - you are missed more than words can express!
Posted by Tom Phillips on April 28, 2017
Love never dies, it never leaves, it remains in the hearts of everyone who knew you! My own excruciating pain of your passing from this world is gone, but not the love and beautiful memories of you, my dear! Peace, Joy, and Love, until we meet again! Il mio amore!!!
Posted by Chris Vander Veen on April 28, 2017
Every time I see the color yellow I think of you -- somehow I associate the brightness and happiness with you, dear Pia. Still miss you but am sure you are watching.
Posted by mel boynton on April 29, 2016
We think of you every time we eat Italian food or see your picture, Pia. Rest in Peace!
Posted by Chris Vander Veen on April 28, 2016
They say time heals all wounds -- the wounds heal over but the memories never leave. You are in so many, many memories that your light will always be around us shining bright. Love you, Pia.
Posted by Tom Phillips on April 28, 2016
It has been 5 years since you left this world, yet you are not forgotten. Every day you are in my thoughts! Yet, today, I have thoughts of gratitude for all that expressed their love for you at the time of your passing, some 5 years ago today! Many expressing their love for you by showing love for me. For without their love, care, and concern for me, I am not sure how I would have survived your passing! You were missed then and you are still missed today! Peace, my Love, Peace!!!
Posted by Tom Phillips on May 14, 2015
Amore, Happy Birthday!!! You are greatly loved and missed! I added a new photo to your site! I know you are aware, but Nate named his catering company "Handsome Pig" after your beautiful nickname for me "Porco Bello" in honor of your teaching him to cook! A beautiful tribute!
Posted by Chris Vander Veen on May 14, 2015
Happy Birthday. You will never age and you will forever remain in our hearts as you were the day you left us.
Posted by mel boynton on April 28, 2015
We miss you, Pia. Rest in peace.
Posted by Tom Phillips on April 28, 2015
It is odd to write to you, in a semi public forum, for you know I speak to you every day in my private thoughts. Four years have now passed since your physical departure from me and everyone else that loved you here. The deep excruciating pain of you being ripped away from me is gone. There is still a sadness, but much more, there are the sweet memories of all that you were to me while alive. Love is eternal and is not bound by time nor space. We are together and will forever remain one! I miss your physical presence, Amore, but yet at the same time I am blessed for your being in my life!
Posted by Tom Phillips on May 14, 2014
Thank you Suzie, yes this fact that this will be the last class that knew Pia has always weighed heavily on my heart! Yet, her impact remains in all the students, faculty, friends, and family members that her life touched! I miss her every day!
Happy birthday Amore!!!
Posted by Suzie Kovacs on May 14, 2014
Pia, you have been in my thoughts this week as we prepare to graduate the CVM class of 2014. I am reminded that this is the last class that knew you as their teacher, mentor, and friend. Be sure that your memory will remain alive and that the classes to follow will also know the special place you leave forever unfilled at WesternU.
Posted by Colleen Brown on May 13, 2014
Thinking of you Pia
Posted by Suzie Kovacs on May 1, 2014
Hi Pia, you are remembered fondly by so many! MIss you so much!
Posted by Chris Vander Veen on April 29, 2014
Dearest Pia -- time has passed but your legacy lives on! Who could ever forget your smile and the twinkle in your eyes -- especially when Tom would be around. Thank you for your gift of time shared with us at WU CVM. Tom is happy again -- and now you and his mother can compare notes and laugh together -- I know that you are entertaining her with your stories of Tom. Miss you, sunshine!
Posted by Tom Phillips on April 29, 2014
Three years have passed since you were physically present in my life; yet the joy and love you gave me continues to be shared by me and others that you touched during your life! This is part of your legacy.

I know you know, that I now engaged to married again - during the year just prior to your death you said to me at least 3 times " Tom, if one of us must go first I want it to be me, for I could not bare to live without you, and if I die first, I want you to move on with your life and find someone new". What a wonderful loving gift you gave me, saying these kind and caring words to me - though I did not understand the impact of their meaning at the time.

Marlena is wonderful women, who honors you and role you have in my life - it is she who organized your memorial last year and sang songs of joy to honor your life, and it is she who helps to maintain your memory every day! I am loved and care for once again, which I know was your greatest desire for me upon your passing. The love you gave me lives on in the love I now give her. I am a better man because of you and your beautiful love - I know you had a hand in my meeting Marlena - so great is your love for me. The legacy of your love continues, through the love I show to others! The deep deep pain of your passing has greatly diminished, but your memory has not - my sweet sweet Pia, I will always love you!!!
Posted by junia fausta klein on April 28, 2014
Ciao Pia, cara amica mia. Ti vorrò sempre bene e ti porterò sempre nel mio cuore.
Posted by Carmela Panza on April 29, 2013
Pia, la tua luce non smettera' mai di splendere nei nostri cuori! We miss you very much!
Posted by Suzie Kovacs on April 29, 2013
Pia, you left a hole at work that no one has (or will ever) be able to fill. You are missed daily and you remind us that life is short and should be lived to the fullest every day - as you seemed to do. Bless you for continuing to teach us all.
Posted by mel boynton on April 28, 2013
We're remembering you today, Pia. The wedding toasts, good times, and lasting friendship still add quality to our lives. You are part of us, forever.
Posted by Chris Vander Veen on April 28, 2013
Still miss you and all you brought to life!
Posted by Suzie Kovacs on April 30, 2012
Missing you Pia!
Posted by mel boynton on April 29, 2012
You live on in the laughter and smiles of family and friends. We will never forget your charm, wit, and beauty!
Posted by Chris Vander Veen on April 28, 2012
You are still missed! Whenever I see a yellow flower I think of you -- the color yellow just seems to be you! You were always so bright and smiling -- just like the bright yellow sun. Miss you.
Posted by Ghida Banat on May 25, 2011
I will miss Pia a lot. She was such a nice and cheerful person. She talked with so much passion about her family especially her son. I will never forget our long chats in the hallways and her great smile. Her memory will stay with us.
Posted by junia fausta klein on May 14, 2011
Dear Pia, forever in my heart, our teen-age years, our seventies-fashoned hair, short with a tail on the neck; our growing in high school laughing and crying together...Today is your birthday, Pia. Forever loved!
Posted by Raymond Phillips on May 10, 2011
As a daughter-in-law Pia was very pleasant loving and
kind. My only wish is that she could been with us a much
longer time, but that was not to be. I will miss her
smiling face. Rest in peace
Posted by Deb Terra on May 8, 2011
Pia was really someone so special and extraordinary. I loved her smile, her style and the way she talked. What a marvelous blessing she was to all who knew her and many that did not even know her.
Posted by Jennie Scudder on May 7, 2011
Pia was an inspiration and will continue to be always!
Posted by Maisie Dawes on May 7, 2011
"Here's to Pia, a woman of passion and spirit,a lady with She truly cared for all. My memories of her are indelible. Tom, thank you for the many tributes you shared with us -of football, baseball, family... and boy could she throw a party!" Sorry
Posted by Jamie Bean on May 7, 2011
It is hard to combine beauty and compassion, they seldom go together. Until you meet Pia Phillips and realize that once in a perfect moon, they mesh and disperse, and make everybody around feel that much better about, well, everything. Thank you for
Posted by Gini Barrett on May 6, 2011
The first thing anyone noticed about Pia was her smile, then her exuberant embrace of life, humor, fun, all things Italian and - of course - Tom. Tom and Pia were so in love they lit up rooms.
Posted by Carmela Panza on May 6, 2011
Carissima Pia, I will always remember the first time I met you...we immediately began speaking in Italian!!! I quickly realized what an amazing soul you have, your presence here on earth will be missed, but your smile will forever warm our hearts! Ba
Posted by Suzie Kovacs on May 6, 2011
Pia made me smile and laugh - she always seemed to remind us about what really matters in life. Work is not the same without her. Ci mancherai caro...
Posted by Arman Ariane on May 5, 2011
I did not have the emotional strength to write anything the first few times I visited this beautiful website. Tom, great music, it is so Pia. Our kids miss her very much; they used to take her delicious Pasta to school for lunch.

Pia, you will alw
Posted by Colleen Brown on May 5, 2011
Cara Pia,
Sogni doro con gli angeli nel cielo. Com'eri bellissima e gentile. Grazie per tutto che hai datto per tutto noi. Ti ricordo per sempre. Molti molti baci.
Posted by Diane McClure on May 5, 2011
Life is beautiful. Pia reminded us of this truth when ever we saw her.
Posted by Angie Beeks on May 5, 2011
My mentor, my friend you will be deeply missed. I am sorry we were not able to stay in contact due to WU but know you cared about me and I cared about you. I will remember our talks always.
Posted by Ana Hodgson on May 5, 2011
Dr. Pia Phillips was a ray of sunshine. She made learning fun and always greeted me with a smile. She always offered words of encouragement and really cared about her students. She cared so much that she made us the best lasanga I have ever had. She
Posted by Christina Kane on May 5, 2011
Pia was such a ray of sunshine!! She was among my favorite faculty members at Western U! I will miss admiring her beauty inside and out, her infectious enthusiasm for life, her welcoming smiles, her classy fun outfits, and of course her amazing food
Posted by Jennifer Stonequist on May 5, 2011
Pia's love of life was simply contagious and truly touched me- she smiled not only with her lips, but with her laughing eyes and her very being! Whenever I passed her on campus or said hello, I was again inspired to allow myself such happiness.
Posted by Cynthia Kinney on May 5, 2011
Her smile and love for Tom lit up the world...She lived, she laughed, and she loved.
Posted by Chris Vander Veen on May 4, 2011
There are so many things I remember about Pia: her beautiful evening gowns at ATC; her constant smile; her love for Tom; her impishness -- but most of all her smile and her caring. She CARED! It is a tribute to her that she is so loved! I miss you.
Posted by Homer Henderson on May 4, 2011
As the Minister who presided at Pia's Marriage Celebration with Tom, I had a "front row" seat for a magic moment. The only person in the cast more radiant than Tom was Pia. Her radiancy lives on.
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Recent Tributes
Posted by Junia fausta Klein on April 29, 2021
Tu ed io sul motorino,
Latina anni settanta,
In faccia il tiepido vento
Nel mio cuore, vivo, sento.

I tuoi occhi, Pia, brillanti
E le nostre allegre risate
Sono eternamente istanti
Nell'infinito più bello sugellate.
Posted by Chris Vander Veen on April 28, 2021
Maria - It doesn't seem like it has been 10 years since your beautiful smile and quick laugh have been gone from us. You are still missed but you are with your beloved Tom.
Posted by Junia fausta Klein on May 14, 2020
Maria Pia, i nostri compleanni avevano una settimana di differenza. Tu il 14 maggio, io il 7 maggio. Non potrei mai dimenticarlo. Buon compleanno amica mia, in Cielo dove sei.
Recent stories

A kind gesture...

Shared by Janelle Pascua on May 5, 2011

I had the honor of having Professor Phillips as my facilitator during an Interprofessional Education Course at WesternU this past February. I literally only saw her for a total of maybe 3 hours, but in that short time, I could tell she had a passion for life and was interested in getting to know EVERYBODY in the room. She went above and beyond what most facilitators did during IPE, instead of the usual 'what's your name and what college are you from,' she asked specific questions about each student in the room showing a genuine interest in what we were each studying. Even though she knew she would probably never see us again other than in passing at WesternU, she still took the time to try and get to know us and that completely impressed me because I had never known an instructor to do that.

However, that's not the only reason I'll always remember her. On the 2nd day of IPE instruction, I had come down with a fever which I later found out was the flu. However, not wanting to miss IPE, I went anyway. I informed Professor Phillips of my fever and the nasty headache that hadn't gone away all day just so she knew why I wouldn't be speaking as much during the 2 hour class. She immediately showed concern in her face and told me to go home and get some rest. I told her it was ok and I'd try to stick it out, but she insisted that everything would be ok and if I wasn't feeling well, I needed to be resting. I ended up going home, but 2 weeks later I was told I had to make up the absence by writing a research paper. Of course, I was a little shocked because I didn't expect it at all. So I e-mailed Professor Phillips asking her if she remembered me and explaining my situation to see if she could do anything to help me explain what had happened. She replied immediately with an e-mail to me and the coordinator supporting my explanation. It blew me away how she had only met me for about 3 hours 2 weeks prior and she still remembered me and was more than willing to help me out. I could never forget her for doing that and I always wanted to say thank you to her in person. So when I saw her name in an e-mail from the President of WesternU, I knew exactly who he was talking about.

She spoke so highly of her family, of Italy, and Italian food in that short time I was with her for class. I could tell she was an adored professor at WesternU and I'm sad to learn that WesternU has lost, what I believe to be, one of the most passionate and vibrant professors at the University. If I can see her love for life and family in the short amount of time I interacted with her, or if she was able to affect me the way she did without me even really knowing her, then I can only imagine how much more she has affected everyone that's known her longer. 

 Thank you Professor Phillips for your kind gesture. Even though it can be considered a small gesture to some, it meant a lot to me to know that someone cared and was more than willing to do what she could in my situation.

My condolences to her family and friends, she will truly be missed. Gone, but never forgotten.

Photographer for Phi Zeta

Shared by Mel Boynton on May 4, 2011

Truth be told, I'm not much of a photographer (pssst, keep it a secret).  But my life partner said she needed a photographer on short notice to snap photos of new inductees to the Veterinary honorary, Phi Zeta, in the spring of 2007. 

Dr. Tom Phillips was one of the officers of Phi Zeta and he seemed to take particular pleasure in presenting a certificate to fellow faculty member and his fiance, Pia Testa.  As you can see, they had the best smiles of the day. 

Since I didn't screw up the pictures too much (Phi Zeta never asked me back...) I managed to get another gig for Tom & Pia.  This time, I was the best man at their wedding!  Truth be told, I'm a pretty good best man and they had an amazing wedding.  One of the most joy full days of my life.

And they didn't ask me to be the photographer...