Francesco DeMaria • July 12, 2021
Francesco (Frank) DeMaria’s soul embarked on his heavenly journey on July 12, 2021. He was 92. Born October 17, 1928 in the beautiful coastal town of Vieste, Italy on the Gargano Peninsula surrounded by the Gargano National Forest, olive groves and the cobalt blue waters of the Adriatic. He was the middle of three sons born to Michele DeMaria and Vittoria Farnararo DeMaria. At the age of 6 he moved to Tuscany where he remained until coming to the United States after World War II in 1947 at the age of 19. Although he was born and raised in Italy he was a proud naturalized citizen of the United States of America. He and his family were able to immigrate to America because his father, Michele, had immigrated to the United States in 1908 and ran a general store in Bangor, Maine for twenty years where he received his US Citizenship. His father returned to Italy 20 years later where he married Vittoria and raised his three sons Antonio, Francesco (Frank) and Vincenzo. Frank’s father was an interpreter to the Allied generals after the liberation of Florence and Frank served as his secretary which also helped secure the family’s passage to the United States shortly after the end of World War II.
Four years after arriving in New York, Frank received his Bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1951. DeMaria went on to marry the love of his life Jacqueline Campbell in 1953. DeMaria earned his Masters in Chemical Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1956, and a mere two years later earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1958. He was designated a Hercules Fellow and Union Carbide Co. Fellow while at the University of Michigan. After receiving his Ph.D. he and Jacquie moved to Connecticut to raise their three sons.
He was a brilliant chemical engineer and was involved with securing many patents for the companies where he worked during his professional career, e.g., AMF, Inc. and American Cyanamid. He was most proud of his work creating ophthalmic sutures which found immediate acceptance by eye surgeons, dissolving sutures and cement additives as well as many others. His children loved playing with the many experimental devices he was researching such as the very first experimental chemiluminescence glowsticks decades before they were on the market, amphibious all-terrain vehicles and carbon fiber skis.
His passions were family, gardening, singing, dancing and painting. He also was an avid reader with an insatiable curiosity for the big questions in science, philosophy and religion. He carried his old school Italian heritage with him wherever he went with his love of food, hard work and traditional expectations of family. He has a true original and made an impression on everyone he met with his wit, intellect, insatiable curiosity and the twinkle in his eyes.
Survivors include his three sons, Brian DeMaria and his wife Caroline of Pensacola Beach, Dr. Michael DeMaria and his wife Kathleen of Gulf Breeze, and Christopher DeMaria of Nice, France, grandchildren Danielle DeMaria, Forrest DeMaria and his wife Adeline, Darien DeMaria, Clotilde DeMaria and Preston DeMaria, his brother Vincenzo DeMaria and his wife Marguerite, his sister-in-law Eva DeMaria and several special nephews and nieces and special friend Judith Kies.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years Jacqueline Campbell DeMaria, his brother Antonio DeMaria, and his beloved childhood kitten Misha.
A celebration of life will be held this coming Saturday July 17, 2021 at 1pm in the Azalea Trace Auditorium. Sweets and treats will follow the ceremony in the auditorium.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to plant Memorial Trees in memory of Francesco DeMaria (e.g., https://thetreesremember.com/memorial-trees/ ) or a donation to the American Cancer Society in memory of our beloved Francesco DeMaria.
The family would like to thank the staff and volunteers at Oakbridge Terrace and Emerald Coast Hospice for their help and support. A special thank you to his loving caregiver and friend for many years Theresa Gibson. In addition, we would like to thank Myuong, Stacey, Selena, Dorothy, Kim and his niece Julie and so many others who are too numerous to mention who provided such love and support in his final days.
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