Diana Elpidia Paolella
February 25, 1931 – June 9, 2020
Born in Pietransieri in the province of L’Aquila in the Abruzzo region of Italy, Diana lived with her family in this beautiful small village in the Apennine Mountains. As a child, Diana grew her Catholic faith in Pietransieri and remained devoted to Christ and Church throughout her life. Unfortunately, the village was occupied during WWII and Diana witnessed the atrocities of war at a young age. At 15, she immigrated with her mother, Giannina Cicone and grandfather, Celestino Gaetano Cicone, to the United States. They arrived in January 1947 and joined her father, Celestino Salvatore Cicone, in Detroit, Michigan. Her father had immigrated to the USA shortly before Diana was born, and struggled all the while to reunite his family. Diana attended Eastern High School in Detroit and soon her brothers, Richard and Bruce, were born.
After graduation in 1950, Diana met her husband, Frank Paolella, at the Sanders confectionary on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, where she worked. Smitten from day one, Frank got enough nerve to ask Diana's father for her hand in marriage. On February 3 of 1951, they married. Their first child, Sue Carol, was born in 1952, followed by son Neil Donald in 1955, and daughter Kim Marie in 1963. Diana was a devoted daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, sister and aunt. She also had a successful professional life as an accomplished manager in the institutional food service industry.
Diana’s finely honed talents were many: a consummate seamstress, artist, potter, gardener, and, most of all, chef! Her love of family showed in the beautiful meals she created for Sunday dinners and special events. Diana graciously shared her many gifts with family and friends. She loved to can tomatoes frequently putting up extra quarts for others. Diana and Frank spent 17 wonderful years in retirement living on Spider Lake near Traverse City. They also wintered several years sunning and shelling on the beaches of Captiva Island, FL. Diana’s retirement years were filled with her favorite things - entertaining family and friends, cooking delicious meals and meticulously maintaining her beautiful Traverse City home. She crafted many beautiful window dressings for her home, designed interior renovations and landscaping. A visit to Diana and Frank’s lakeside home was always a joy for their many visitors and guests.
Diana is preceded in death by her husband, Frank, and her parents, Celestino and Giannina. She is survived by her three children, Sue, Neil (Anita) and Kim Thomas (John); her four grandchildren, Brian, Kevin, David and Gabriella; her brothers, Richard Cicone (Carolyn Burke) and Dr. Bruce Cicone (Mary Jo Gruber), and her many nieces, nephews and their families.
Because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the family will have a private service at Borek Jennings Funeral Home in Hamburg, Michigan. Diana will be buried next to her husband Frank and near her grandfather Celestino at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield, Michigan. Please leave a message of comfort for Diana's family at 1-877-231-7900, or sign her guestbook at www.borekjennings.com.
The family wishes to give special thanks for the care that Diana received from The Residence at Arbor Hospice in Saline, MI. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests gifts to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 4301 Wilson Blvd., Suite 300, Arlington, VA, 22203 (or via www.nami.org). Please make donations in Diana's honor online or on check.
A celebration of Diana’s life will be planned for a future date.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Diana Paolella, please visit our floral store.
National Alliance on Mental Illness
4301 Wilson Blvd. Suite 300, Arlington VA 22203