Detective Philip F. Caliri – Cranston Police

Det. Philip F. Caliri

     Retired Detective Investigator Philip F. Caliri, “Officer Friendly”, passed away on May 31, 2022, at the age of 85. 

     Phil’s father, Antonio, immigrated from Sicily by himself at 16 years of age to build a better life in America. Antonio went on to become a talented mason working on projects ranging from fashioning  the ceilings high atop scaffolding in a New York City skyscraper to sculpting the crown molding in Phil’s childhood home in Silver Lake. Phil’s mother, Mafalda, was a dark-haired homemaker who drank her coffee black and watched Lawrence Welk on Friday nights. Like his mother, Phil sipped his brandy, neat. Unlike her, he liked his in a snifter while listening to Oscar Peterson records. 

     In Phil’s generation, many people worked for their entire lives at a single job and upon retirement, received a gold watch. Phil actually did receive a gold watch upon retirement, but due to his diverse interests and many talents, his career was nothing like the norm– it was one of a Renaissance man. In the late 1950s, Phil became a Cranston Police Officer to serve his community. He was instrumental in creating and mentoring officers for what was a precursor to a modern Special Victims Unit. Phil worked on extremely difficult cases to protect the most vulnerable people of society at a time when there were few templates to follow for this type of work. A bridge was needed to educate youth on self protection and the role of law in their lives and thus Phil became the founding Officer of the Youth Liaison Program in the City of Cranston, traveling to speak at schools as “Officer Friendly.” Phil’s caring and soft spoken nature made the Officer Friendly role an icon for thousands of children in Cranston who remember his talks even to this day. 

     Phil pursued many other endeavors with confidence and determination. He was a natural at the microphone. Phil was a newscaster on WLKW late night radio, a lectern at St. Bartholomew’s Church, and for over 40 years, he announced parties’ dinner reservations as a maitre d’ at Twin Oaks restaurant. When he retired from Twin Oaks, they gave him a gold watch, which he added to his collection. He also collected fine suits and ties, and once modeled handsome menswear for Seventh Avenue. 

     In his personal life, Phil bench pressed hundreds of pounds at the gym, rode a motorcycle down old country roads and once drove a Lamborghini. On his birthday he enjoyed “zuppa inglese,” an Italian rum cake with fresh whipped cream, but still made room for wine biscuits, like his mother’s, and probably a sfogliatella, or two. He was an only child, a music lover, and a student of human nature who loved the smell of gardenias. Phil will be greatly missed. 

     Phil leaves his wife, Carole Caliri, three daughters and their spouses, Sherry Ferdinandi and her husband Steven Ferdinandi, Ingrid Caliri-Juchnik her husband Steve Juchnik, and Kim Cavalloro and her husband Michael Cavalloro, four step children, Deborah Round and her husband Daniel Round, Kimberly Johnson, Eric Johnson, and Richard Johnson, his former wife, Ingeborg Caliri, eight grandchildren, three step grandchildren, three great grandchildren, and many loving friends.

     Rest in peace our brother.