Philip J. Dello Stritto Jr., 76, of Auburn, passed away peacefully on February 23, 2021 at Upstate University Hospital after a lengthy illness. Born in Auburn on January 29, 1945, Philip was the son of the late Philip J. Sr. and Mary Hitchcock Dello Stritto. Phil, a lifelong resident of Auburn New York, graduated from West High School in 1963. Phil was a graduate of the Fine Arts School at Syracuse University in 1967 and received his professional teaching degree from SUNY Oswego. Phil had a long and distinguished career in the fields of fine arts, photography and education. He began his photography career at Muggleton Studios in his hometown of Auburn, NY. Phil’s skill and passion led him to establish and operate his own studio, Studio D for over 50 years. Phil chronicled intimate family celebrations with grace and professionalism. He was often sought out by multiple generations to capture their milestones in a way only he could. As a photographer he had a presence behind the camera that put everyone at ease and distinctly captured the joy of the moment. He adored photographing his littlest subjects where he could capture the beauty and innocence of a young new life. Phil was a gifted artist. He possessed incredible talent as a painter capturing the varied landscapes of his beloved Finger Lakes and Adirondacks in color, mood and texture. He was also an accomplished illustrator and did remarkable work restoring heirloom and historical photographs. He was well known for donating beautifully detailed pen and ink drawings of historic buildings and landmarks for auctions benefiting numerous organizations throughout the Finger Lakes community. His works have been showcased broadly throughout New York State. Phil was an Art teacher in the Auburn School District and proudly taught students to appreciate the beauty of art for nearly 20 years. While teaching he served as the Vice President of the Auburn Teachers Association and in retirement remained an advocate for his fellow educators. During the past fifteen years, Phil has served as a board member of the New York State United Teacher Retirees of CNY and assisted with the management of the Cayuga Onondaga Retirees of NYSUT. He also belonged to organizations that fought to protect the health of the Finger Lakes region. In support of his local community Phil served on the Town of Fleming Zoning Board from 2010 to 2020. He was a legend and mentor to all of us. Phil is survived by his loving wife, Ellen (McCuin) Dello Stritto. They met at East High School in Auburn, while teaching in 1969. Phil and Ellen raised their family on the shores of Owasco Lake. They imbued their family with an appreciation of the incredible natural landscapes of our region. They could be found skiing the slopes of the Northeast, taking canoe trips in the Adirondacks and many days spent boating Owasco Lake. Phil and Ellen celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in November of 2020. He is also survived by his daughter, Dr. Mary Ellen Dello Stritto (Dr. Joseph Harchanko) of Salem OR and their daughter, Elena Harchanko; his son, Douglas Dello Stritto (Tracey Knapton) of Canandaigua NY and their children, Anderson and William Dello Stritto and his daughter, Katherine Dello Stritto (David Babad) of Oceanport NJ and their children, Elizabeth and Abigail Babad. His siblings, Jan Graham (Frank), Robert Dello Stritto (Jill), Joseph Dello Stritto (Maria) and Debra Fabian (David); his sisters and brothers in law, Nancy Lewis (Robert), Patricia Bliss (Dale), Rita McCuin and Robert McCuin (Debbie) and many beloved nieces and nephews. Along with his parents, Phil was predeceased recently by his brother in law, James McCuin. Calling hours will be held for Phil on Sunday, February 28th from 2- 4 pm, with COVID-19 guidelines in place, at White Chapel Funeral Home Inc., 197 South Street, Auburn. There will be private services for Phil on Monday March 1st. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Phil's name may be made to the Finger Lakes Land Trust, Cayuga Museum of History and Art or other local arts organizations. To offer condolences for the family, please visit whitechapelfh.com.
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