Owner of Mario's Place
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Frank DeMace, the owner of the legendary Westport restaurant, Mario's Place, died peacefully on Tuesday, surrounded by his children and siblings.
Francis Salvatore DeMace was born at Norwalk Hospital on December 23, 19 33 to Josephine and Pasqual DeMace.
A life-long resident of Westport, he was a beloved figure to countless people whose lives he touched. As one friend said, "he did more things by accident for people than most of us have done intentionally." He was known as a man of few words with a big heart and a generous spirit. The town is filled with stories of those whose careers he helped start or whose education he helped fund. He was a gentle man who couldn't say "no" to anyone in need.
He served in 1951-54 in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, stationed in France during the Korean Conflict. He began his restaurant career, starting in 1955 at the old Arrow in Westport where he worked until 1967 when he opened Mario's. Shunning the limelight, he would do every job in the restaurant, from washing the dishes and slicing the lemons to cooking the meatballs before the doors opened in the morning.
Many of his former employees have moved on to open restaurants throughout the region.
Known to his family and friends as "Tiger," he was an avid bowler and golfer and a lifetime volunteer member of the Westport Fire Department, Saugatuck Hose Company No. 4. He was honored by the Westport Sportsman Association, receiving its Citizen's Award, and was a generous contributor to countless charities.
He is survived by his son, Dominic DeMace, and daughter, Lori Kosut and her husband, Fletcher Kosut; his beloved grandchildren, Frankie DeMace, Emma Rose DeMace, and Bronwynn Paz Viola Kosut; and his sister, Theresa DeMattia and brother, Dominick DeMace and one sister in law Judith G. Dwyer. He was predeceased by his sister, Marie Wallace and brothers, Michael and Joseph DeMace.
He will be sorely missed and forever remembered by his friends, too numerous to mention.
Services will be held on Sunday, July 29 from 4:00 - 8:00 pm at the Harding Funeral Home 210 Post Road East, Westport and on Monday, July 30 at 10:00 am directly at the Church of the Assumption 98 Riverside Avenue in Westport. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Whittingham Cancer Center at Norwalk Hospital.
Published in The Hour on July 28, 2012