Frank Anthony DeMarco died peacefully at his home in the company of family on May 18, 2023, at the age of 102.
Born in Podargoni, Italy, on February 14, 1921, Frank was the seventh of nine children. When he was a young boy, his family was re-united in Canada, in North Bay, Ontario. He spent the duration of his youth there, until he attended the University of Toronto where he earned a B.A.Sc. in 1942, followed by a M.A.Sc. and a Ph.D., all in chemical engineering.
In 1948, Frank married Mary Valenti. They had twelve children: Maria (deceased 2001), Anna Moore (Jack), Jeanie, Paula, Chris (Brian Riera), John (Martha Ndokuo), Dan (Kim), Tom (Hisano Motobashi), Jim (Stacey White), Terry (Fraser Godfrey), Robert (Linda) and Jerry (Anne Bell). Frank is also missed by 26 grandchildren (Mark, Steve, Dom, Jocelin, Jamie, Juliann, Georgia, Trevor, Glenn, Jenny, Stephen, Mike, Nick, Alexandra, Michael, Jackie, Robert, Laura, Thomas, Ollie, Sam, Alex, Matt, Adrian, Kestrel and Cassie) and 17 great grandchildren.
Frank’s work years comprised a distinguished academic career in Windsor, Ontario. Over a course of more than 40 years, his name figures prominently in the University of Windsor history – as a founder, professor, athletic director, first Dean of Engineering, first Vice-President, and Professor Emeritus.
Frank’s teaching career began in 1946 at Assumption University. When Essex College began, as Windsor's first public university-level institution to receive provincial funding in 1956, he had the distinction of being the inaugural Principal. Essex College offered degrees in engineering, business, mathematics, nursing and science. Frank’s role was central when it later evolved to become the University of Windsor.
All who knew Frank are familiar with his affinity all-around for athletics. In the 1940s, Frank played in the Ontario Rugby Football Union, the highest level of Canadian football. He went on to coach both football and basketball teams at the college level. His enthusiasm for golf became a decades-long source of enjoyment, not without some frustration. Curling was another long-term favourite sport, ranging from high-level competition to a social pastime with his wife, Mary. Frank’s induction into the Windsor and Essex County Sports Hall of Fame in 1996 was a special recognition.
Frank must have intuited the key to longevity through keeping active almost to the very end. He partook in many activities, such as swimming laps, swinging a racquet or a club, paddling a canoe and riding a bike, including a three-wheeled bike when he could no longer ride a standard. ‘Applied’ exercise included hours of yard work such as raking the interminable supply of oak leaves on his LaSalle property. He resided there in the family home for over six decades, thanks in a large part to receiving, in his later years, a huge boost in countless ways from his son Dan and family living on an adjoining property.
The DeMarco family home was also the location of many joyous family reunions over the years. Having endlessly enjoyed teaching and coaching his own children and grandchildren, Frank always showed overflowing pride in their academic and athletic accomplishments. His family motto was “Sempre Avanti” (Always Forward), which sums up the dedication and drive that were evident in his pursuit of excellence in family life, in career, and in athletics.
Frank will be dearly missed by all of us.
Deep gratitude goes to Dan and Kim and their children for enabling both Frank and Mary (deceased February 25, 2021) to enjoy their peaceful home and property right through to their end of life. We have also been fortunate to have Ella Muzzin’s care and friendship over many years, as well as several very special caregivers from Amy’s Helping Hands, CarePartners, ParaMed, St. Elizabeth and the LHIN.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorial donations to be made to the DeMarco Award fund (student-athlete scholarship) through the link below:
A celebration of Frank’s life will be scheduled at a future date.