Norma P. (Volpe) DeFrank, age 96, passed away peacefully on January 16, 2019 at home, surrounded by her family. Norma was born on November 19, 1922 in Columbus, Ohio as a first-generation Italian-American. She was the second oldest of four children born to parents Anna Marie Carifa and Philip Volpe, who immigrated to the United States from Italy in 1919. A 1940 Sigma Kappa Psi graduate of Central High School, Norma went on to work as a clerk typist for Columbus Motor Freight and then Defense Construction Supply Center (DCSC). Afterward, she enjoyed 25 years of work and made lasting friendships as a do-it-all receptionist and secretary with the family-owned business, The Fishel Company. In the days before computers, she typed all of the contracts Fishel handled in its utility construction and network installation business, and was commended regularly and highly by executives and staff for her reliability, accuracy, work ethic and friendly, smiling demeanor. Norma met her future husband, Dan DeFrank, when she was 16 years old at an Italian community picnic and they married in Richmond, Virginia two years later, the day before Dan shipped out to the Philippines for naval service in World War II on the USS Iowa. Married for 69 years, Norma and Dan had two children, four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren to whom they were devoted. Always a sportswoman, Norma and Dan bowled on league teams for years, amassing several trophies playing for the Independent Order of Foresters-and Norma continued in a women's league until her late 70s. She was an avid and educated sports fan, and an active member of the Cincinnati Reds' "Rosie Reds" fan club in the era of the Big Red Machine. She and Dan traveled across the country with the team and their friends for years, living the baseball life and meeting and receiving autographs from the great players of that time, including George Foster, Johnny Bench and Pete Rose. But perhaps her favorite "sport" was the card game Euchre. Norma played for her whole life with a passion for the cards and the company, teaching her grandkids how to play when they were young and hosting games at her kitchen table with family and friends for decades, the scents of her delicious Italian cooking always in the air. She played as long as she could into her last weeks of life, with the help of caring aides at the Village of Westerville to wheel her to the activity room so she could pull her deck of cards and point-counters from her purse, and get down to fun.
Norma will be forever missed by a family who adored her. She was deeply involved in the lives of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and modeled for them a life well and fully lived, supporting them with love and affection and practical, uplifting advice. God gave her an innate gift for caring for others, a quiet strength and candid humor, and a fearless opinion about life's important issues. She gave those gifts to all of her family in every act-in both working a job and raising her children at the same time; in cooking large family meals and hosting holiday celebrations; in taking grandkids on trips to the ballpark and the swimming pool and the neighborhood schools' playgrounds to shoot basketballs at the outdoor hoops; and in attending dozens of sports games and events where her grandchildren and great-grandchildren starred. Norma extended the term "family" to all of her treasured friends throughout her life, including those from "the old neighborhood" and from her dear St. Matthias Church, where she was a parishioner for most of her adult life and might be remembered by many there as "the pie lady", who pushed the dessert cart through the Parish Hall at every Lenten fish fry dinner for many wonderful years. Norma is preceded in death by her parents and husband; and by her siblings and their spouses, Philip Volpe, Nedda Melaragno (John) and Wilda Terrible (John); and by her beloved daughter, Olivia DeFrank Charles and son-in-law, Michael L. Charles. She is survived by her devoted son, Larry (Barb); grandchildren Kimberly (Tracy) Younkin; Michael (Wendy) Charles; Stephanie (Joe) Miller; and Chris DeFrank. She is also survived by the lights of her life, her nine great-grandchildren: Clint, Heath, Gabe, Eli, Drew, Amelia, J.D., Caleb and Olivia; her sister-in-law Josephine Volpe; and many loved nieces and nephews and their families. Family will receive friends on Sunday, January 20, 2019 from 2-4 p.m. at JOHN QUINT TREBONI FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICE, 1177 West Fifth Ave. with a private family funeral Mass and interment to follow. Norma's family sends warm and heartfelt gratitude to all of the people at The Village of Westerville Retirement Center-executives, staff, residents and everyone there who touched her life. Thank you for caring for Norma for these last several years with both large and small acts of kindness, friendship and love.Condolences may be sent via www.johnquint.com.