Phillip Frank DeSanto passed away at his home of the last three years, Maryvale Senior Living in West Terre Haute, on July 5, 2017, at the age of 91. Frank was born March 19, 1926, in Marion, Ohio, to Ruth Juanita (Marshall) DeSanto and Joseph Anthony Maria Sansotta.
Frank was raised in Marion, Ohio and graduated from Warren G. Harding High School in 1944. He graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1948. While in college, he was the student manager of the tennis team, a fraternity brother of Phi Kappa Sigma, and an exchange student in Mexico City.
He and Lillian Allen were married in 1952 and lived in Mansfield, Ohio, where Frank was a buyer for the toy department of Kobacker's Department Store. They had two children, Phillip DeSanto and Toni DeSanto. The family moved to Terre Haute in 1963, where Frank worked as a buyer for Schultz's Department Store in the yard goods, draperies, and linen department until it closed in the early eighties. He was recognized by the American Contract Bridge League as a Ruby Life Master and served as the manager of the Terre Haute Bridge Center for many years into his eighties. He served as the director of the Unitarian Universalist Church for several years and was a volunteer counselor for prisoners. Always a stylish dresser, he looked sharp every day, sported a special colorful outfit on every holiday, and will be remembered for his Halloween costumes. He loved live music and spent many evenings dancing at Be Bops, the Apple Club, and the TeePee Tavern, outliving most of his favorite nightspots. He was still dancing on his 90th birthday.
Frank was preceded in death by both of his parents; his sister, Norma (DeSanto) Cribb and her husband Ward Cribb; half sisters, Catherine, Helen, Mary, and Frances; half brothers, Dominic, Joseph, William, and Rocky; his first wife, Lillian (Allen) DeSanto; and his mother-in-law, Alma (Fulks) Middleton.
He is survived by his son, Phillip DeSanto and daughter-in-law Marianne (Gurchiek) DeSanto of West Terre Haute, and their children Jason DeSanto of West Terre Haute and Kristen (DeSanto) Manning and husband Scott Manning of Nashville, Tenn.; his daughter, Toni DeSanto and son-in-law David D'Amore of Juneau, Alaska and their son Ian D'Amore; great-grandson, Blake DeSanto; niece, Nikki (Cribb) Scott and her husband David Scott of Toronto, Ohio; numerous great-nieces and nephews; and amazingly, his father-in-law, Williard P. Middleton of Maryville, Tenn.
Frank appreciated his long time friend and neighbor, Sally Russell; the great staff at Maryvale Senior Living, Debbie, Tina, Jessica, and Charlene; and his special angel and caregiver Erma Cooper. The family extends a very special thank you to Hospice nurses and caregivers, Libby, Suzanne, Jennifer, and Kathy, who in a very short time made a very big impression.
In his own words, as written on his personal calling card, Frank was an:
Aesthete, Raconteur, Semanticist, Bridge Aficionado, Poet Laureate, Bibliophile, Philanthrope, Diplomat, and Incurable Romanticist. The Incomparable, Frank DeSanto
Which in translation means:
A lover of art, music, and poetry, skilled storyteller, specialist in the study of meaning, bridge enthusiast, recognized poet, collector and lover of books, lover of mankind, a person who dealt with people in a sensitive and effective way, and forever sentimental and optimistic.
A celebration of Frank's life will be held at Samaritan Funeral Home, 2425 Wabash Ave., from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 12, 2017. All friends and family are invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to VNA & Hospice of the Wabash Valley, 400 8th Ave., Terre Haute, IN 47804. (www.myhospicevna.org).
Published on July 10, 2017