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Surrounded by her family and her loving caregivers at Dujarie House, Polly DeCicco, 89, passed away there on Wednesday, January 30, 2019.
Polly was born in War, West Virginia to the late Joseph and Carmella “Nellie” Romeo, immigrants from Italy. She was the youngest, and is the only surviving, of their five children.
Polly came to South Bend as a student at Saint Mary’s College. Her brother Rocco was at the University of Notre Dame. Her brother introduced Polly to his roommate, Michael DeCicco. And on December 30, 1950, Polly and Mike married in his hometown, Newark, New Jersey. They had the first two of their five children in Newark. In 1954, Mike returned to teach at Notre Dame, and they made South Bend their home for the rest of their lives. Mike died on March 29, 2013.
Surviving are their five children Linda DeCicco, Michele (John) Kovatch, Nick (Sandy) DeCicco, Della (Jim) Dewald and Michael (Lori) DeCicco; 14 grandchildren: Jessica (Doug) McManus Warnell, Angela (Bill) Sekerka, Erin (Brad) Fini, Jake (Jenni) Kovatch, Shelbi Kovatch, Gabe (Melissa) Kovatch, Jimmy (Tiffany) Dewald, Gina (JR) Huntington, Vincenzo (Katie) Dewald, Micki (Danny) Berry, Rocco (Lindsey) DeCicco, Nicola (Danielle) DeCicco, Melissa DeCicco and Emily DeCicco; and 20 great-grandchildren: Satchel and Benjamin Warnell, Lila and Luke Sekerka, Beckett, Harper and Hunter Fini, Isaac and Silas Kovatch, Remi and John David Kovatch, Trey Berry, Romeo, Carmen and Rocco DeCicco, Amelia and Julian DeCicco, Aya Dewald and Wyetta and Estelle Huntington.
Polly raised their five children while Mike taught in the mechanical engineering department and later was the academic advisor for Notre Dame’s athletes. He was Notre Dame’s head fencing coach from 1962 to 1995. He attributed all of his successes to Polly, who helped him with major decisions all along the way.
When Polly wasn’t busy with her children, she was playing bridge and tennis or going to daily Mass. For many years, she worked at Notre Dame’s registration and was active in the Christ Child Society. Every Wednesday for many years, she worked at the “Center” on Chapin Street. Notre Dame’s Monogram Club inducted Polly into their circle of honorees, for her continued support – and a whole lot of dinners – for the athletes, particularly her fencers.
Mike and Polly were also members of the Knights of the Malta, which led them to Lourdes on annual pilgrimages. However, their favorite travels were to Italy, where they returned to the villages of their parents.
The family would like to thank the caregivers at Dujarie House for their years with Polly. The day she died, caregivers shed tears and shared stories. Their unselfish work did not go unnoticed.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for Polly at 2:00p.m. on Saturday, February 2, 2019 in Our Lady of Holy Cross Chapel in Dujarie House on the campus of Holy Cross Village, 54515 State Road 933 North, Notre Dame, Indiana. The family will be there an hour before to welcome guests.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Christ Child Society, 308 S. Scott Street, P.O. Box 1286, South Bend, IN 46624 or to the DeCicco Fencing Endowment, Athletic Business Office, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556.
Palmer Funeral Home - Hickey Chapel is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be left for the DeCicco family at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com.