Obituary for Christopher "The Black Prince" Phoenix II
Christopher Phoenix II was born in Harlem, New York on August 21, 1938 to Christopher Phoenix and Janie (Bryan) Phoenix. Even as a child Chris was always the life of the party and made friends wherever he went. He matriculated in New York City through P.S. 184 Elementary School, Cooper Jr. H.S, Brooklyn Technical H.S. and Haaren H.S., where he graduated in 1956. Chris was always God fearing. He was Baptized at an early age at Beulah Baptist Church and was very active there through his teens and young adulthood.
In 1957, Chris went to Howard University, or as he and his fellow alumni wife proudly refer to it, the Capstone of Black Education. Chris was well known on campus and made several lifelong friends while attending Howard. He played for the University’s basketball team and despite his active social calendar, Chris remained disciplined in his studies. He was a cadet in Howard’s Army ROTC and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant when he graduated.
Chris served in the US Army from 1962 – 1964 and rose to the rank of First Lieutenant. Afterwards, he continued to dedicate his career to public service and worked as a caseworker in the Income Maintenance Department of Social Services and then as a counselor with HARYOU (Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited). In 1970 he joined EEOP which became the Educational Opportunity Center (EOC), a program of Westchester Community College. He served there as the Recruitment & Placement Counselor until he retired in 2002 after 32 years. Chris had a big heart and stayed focused on service and fellowship even outside of the office. In 1966, he joined the brotherhood of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., New York Alumnae Chapter.
Chris’ most meaningful contributions were the ones he gave to his family and friends. Chris was a loving and devoted son to his parents and younger brother to his sister, Ethelyn. It is often joked that Chris’ first daughter was actually his niece Cheryl, whom he loved as his own since the day she was born, twenty years before Chris became a father.
In 1972, Chris met his wife, Charlotte. It took two years of socializing in the same New York City and Howard University alumni circles before the two started dating in 1974. Charlotte tried not to be smitten with Chris, but his charisma, courtesy, romantic gestures, and bold declarations captured her heart rather quickly. When Chris told her on their second date that she’d be the mother of his children, he turned out to be quite right. They were married 5 1/2 months later on May 9, 1975.
Chris and Charlotte had their first daughter, “Tina” (actually Christina, honoring her father), in 1977 and their second daughter, Cherie, in 1980. Chris was a very joyful and loving father to his daughters, and spread the same to his Godchildren (Erik Boulware, DeeDee Byas-Barnett, Esq. and, now angel, Michael Jones), as well as to other children in the extended family and village. Chris was an active parent in the Brooklyn Chapter, Jack and Jill of America, Inc. He was fun and caring and his annual Black History Month dinner performances were always a hit with all ages.
The family moved from Brooklyn to Westchester in 1992. Chris already had a number of colleagues and friends in Westchester from his work around the county but his circle expanded when he started hosting poker games with his father in law and met members of the local chapters of his Fraternity and Jack and Jill. As usual, everyone became Chris’ fast friend. After his retirement, it became normal for people to randomly stop by the house just to hear a joke or story or to receive some of Chris’ wise advice.
Chris was truly a man of love, honor and integrity and it’s no wonder why he was widely and fondly known as “The Black Prince.” He was a humble man who admitted to his mistakes and shared them as lessons to others. He could make you laugh, cry and learn in a matter of minutes. His booming voice was deep and comforting. His eyes were big and honest and his judgment was sound. Chris transitioned to heaven on July 3, 2017. He was surrounded by three generations of Phoenix women in prayer.
Chris is survived by his wife, Charlotte Phoenix; daughters, Christina Phoenix Harper and Cherie Phoenix-Sharpe; son in-law, Shadeed Sharpe; grandchildren, Phoenix Harper, Christopher Harper, Gabrielle “Brie” Harper and Frederick “Drew” Harper; sister Ethelyn (Phoenix) Anderson; niece and nephew Cheryl Anderson-Manuel and Andena Manuel; grand nephew and grand niece Corey Manuel and Jackie Brimmage-Manuel; grand niece Courtney Manuel; great grand niece Zuri Manuel and a host of other family and friends.
The Entire Staff of Lee's Funeral Home, LLC respects that the Phoenix family entrusted the care of their loved one to us, and that they value the level of service & attention our funeral home provides. We are honored, in turn, to provide comfort, assistance and service to the Phoenix family during their time of bereavement.