Mary Ellen Frome (Hitt)
July 6, 1929 - January 27, 2022
Three themes ran through the entirety of Mary’s life: family, friends and community. The second youngest in a family of 10, Mary grew up in the idyllic town of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, the gateway to the Midwest’s vacation paradise, Door County. Her family was close knit and included her parents Rupert and Ella (Morre) Hitt, and 9 siblings: Helen and Richard, and preceded in death by sisters Bernadine, Doris, Margaret, Kathleen and brothers George, Charles and John. Forever a beauty, she caught the eye of Walter Frome, were married August 20, 1949 and together they raised 7 children: Gregory, Jeffrey and Lori (Benstead), Stan and Mari (Scott), Jennifer and Richard Watchinski, Matthew and Barbara (Kowalczyk) Walter and Lori (Mumenthaler), and Theresa and Chris Sperle. They were blessed with 19 grandchildren: Alana, Eric, Tyler, Kaylynn, Gavin, Tobin, Madeline, Sara, Jessica, Brett, Grace, Genevieve, Walter, Shannon, Shawn, Colin, Trevor, Cameron and Katie and 6 (soon to be 8) great grandchildren, rarely missing any of their many sporting events or theatrical performances. Always adventurous, Mary and Wally moved west to California in the mid ‘50s. At Wally’s side, Mary saw the creation of a real estate company that continues to thrive based on their vision and hard work. They made great friends and raised their children in their Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Newport Beach communities. Mary was an active member of the Roman Catholic Parishes of Holy Family and Our Lady Queen of the Angels (OLQA). She enjoyed golf and bridge at Big Canyon CC and The Vintage Club and traveled the world for fun, food, golf, bicycling and adventure reaching all 7 continents several times over. Each year Mary returned to Wisconsin for her annual high school reunion and to cheer on her beloved Green Bay Packers. Soon after her arrival in Orange County, Mary began leaving her mark on the community. She was active in Holy Family Altar Society, and when the school needed a volleyball coach, she stepped right in. She worked tirelessly for Providence Speech and Hearing and The Assistance League of Tustin. She was a founder of the Casa Teresa Guild, a home to help unwed mothers, served on the very first parish council at OLQA, and was an early supporter of Angels of the Arts. Mary was active in bringing Special Olympics to Orange County, where her daughter Jennifer followed in her footsteps both as multi-year chairs of its annual charity auction. Her legacy for the community continues through the Frome Family Foundation, which she founded with her beloved husband and continues to enrich the community through grants to over 30 charities each year benefiting the people and organizations she supported over her long, rich and fulfilling lifetime.
The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 AM, Wednesday, February 2 at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church, Newport Beach. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to either Casa Teresa (casateresa.org/ways-to-give/) or Special Olympics (sosc.org/orangecounty).
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