Share this article

print logo

Phillip J. Tabone Jr., school principal, cake designer, dies at 71

Nov. 11, 1941 - Sept. 19, 2013

Phillip J. Tabone Jr., a primary school principal in East Pembroke and cake designer, died Thursday at the Hospice Wells House of the Beechwood Continuing Care Campus, Getzville. He was 71.

Born in Batavia, Mr. Tabone was a graduate of Notre Dame High School, and earned teaching degrees and certification fromm St. John Fisher College and Brockport State College.

After retiring from teaching at the age of 54, Mr. Tabone went into the business of making wedding cakes, following in the footsteps of his mother. The business was called Wedding Cakes by Tabone.

His wife of 25 years, the former Renee Witkins, remembers some of his creations for wedding receptions and celebrations in Salvatore’s Italian Gardens. One was in the shape of a truck, in honor of a truck driver, and another, a house with a pasture for a cake that resembled a customer’s property.

“Our whole basement was turned into a bakery,” she said. “It seems like anything he wanted to do, he excelled at.”

From 1963 to 1995 he was a teacher and a principal in the Pembroke Central School District. As an elementary school teacher, Mr. Tabone helped in the production of school musicals. At the condominium community in Williamsville where he lived, he was known as “The Mayor.”

“He was just so friendly and talkative and cared about people,” his wife added. “He had a big heart.”

His son, Isaac, 19, one of the joys of his life, is studying music education at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester. Mr. Tabone volunteered for Buffalo Suzuki Strings when Isaac was a young student, helping with the school’s move to North Tonawanda.

“He loved to hear Isaac play the violin,” Renee said.

Survivors include his wife and son.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church, 8445 Greiner Road, Clarence.