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Westport Restaurant Owner Frank DeMace Dies at 78

WESTPORT, Conn. – Frank DeMace, the owner Mario's Place restaurant in Westport, died July 24, surrounded by his children and siblings. He was 78.

Francis Salvatore DeMace was born Dec. 23, 1933, at Norwalk Hospital to Josephine and Pasqual DeMace. A lifelong Westport resident, he served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1951-54, stationed in France during the Korean War.

DeMace began his restaurant career in 1955 at the Arrow in Westport, where he worked until 1967 when he opened Mario's Place. His family said he shunned the limelight, doing any and every job in the restaurant, from washing dishes and slicing lemons to cooking the meatballs before the doors opened in the morning.

Several of his former employees moved on to open restaurants throughout the region. Known to family and friends as "Tiger," DeMace was an avid bowler and golfer. He also was a lifetime volunteer member of the Westport Fire Department, Saugatuck Hose Company No. 4.

DeMace was honored by the Westport Sportsman Association with the Citizen's Award. He was known as a man of few words and a beloved figure to countless people, his family said.

He is survived by a son, Dominic DeMace; a daughter, Lori (Fletcher) Kosut; a sister, Theresa DeMattia; a brother, Dominick DeMace; three grandchildren; and a sister-in-law, Judith G. Dwyer. DeMace was predeceased by a sister, Marie Wallace; and two brothers, Michael and Joseph DeMace.

Calling hours are from 4-8 p.m. Sunday at Harding Funeral Home in Westport. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday at Church of the Assumption in Westport.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Whittingham Cancer Center at Norwalk Hospital.

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