Ellen Margaret Fata died peacefully surrounded by her loving family on April 5, 2021. Ellen was born in Lansing, Michigan on May 9, 1937, and was the youngest daughter of Italian immigrants, Emil and Carmella DeMarco. Ellen attended Resurrection School, where she was a proud Shamrock, a cheerleader, and, for her friendly personality, winner of the “R” Girl Award. After graduating in 1955, she attended cosmetology school and briefly worked before marrying her husband, Frank Fata, on May 18, 1957. Together, they raised six children and created beautiful memories for thirty-five years. They took frequent road trips to Hallandale, Florida, and often brought a niece or nephew along; apparently six children on vacation weren’t enough! Frank and Ellen eventually spent their winters in Pompano Beach, where they enjoyed family time and new friendships.
Every summer, Ellen headed to her favorite place, Higgins Lake, Michigan. At her cottage retreat on the water, she and her children enjoyed happy summers of sun, swimming, and boating, and later, Ellen continued this tradition with her most precious gifts, her grandchildren.
Ellen was a master cook and baker, and could often be found in her kitchen preparing food for family and friends or anyone who might stop over. She’d serve her grandchildren homemade cinnamon rolls or blueberry muffins and sing them her favorite song of love: “A Bushel and a Peck.” Sunday dinner was her specialty, and three (sometimes four!) generations of family would gather at her house at the end of each week to devour her delicious pasta and meatballs.
Ellen was a woman of tremendous faith, and her strong Catholic values were a vital part of her daily life. She was a member of St. Gerard parish, where she attended morning Mass every day as well as the weekly Saturday evening Mass. Every Tuesday, she joined her longtime friends to recite the rosary and to pray for her family. She was a member of the St. Gerard Altar Society and the Moving On Club, and she volunteered at St. Vincent Catholic Charities, helping refugees adjust to their new lives.
Fellow members of St. Gerard, MaryAlice Abood and Fran Caspar were Ellen’s neighbors when the three of them were young women raising small children. These neighbors ended up becoming dear, lifelong friends. Ellen also shared a special bond and close friendship with her sister, Julie. The two of them spoke almost every day and saw each other frequently, up until Julie’s recent passing.
Ellen is preceded in death by her parents, Emil and Carmella DeMarco; her husband, Frank Fata; Frank’s siblings, Ernest Fata, Gloria (Orlando) Spagnuolo, and Margaret Fetyko; and Ellen’s siblings, Mary (Bert) DiVietri, and Julia (Robert) Grescowle.
Ellen is survived by her six children, Mary (Michael) Novello, Gerard (Lisa) Fata, Nicholas (Jennifer) Fata, Phillip (Lori) Fata, David (Mary) Fata, and Robert (Stephanie) Fata, as well as twenty grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
The Fata family would like to acknowledge the caregivers that provided such loving care for Ellen and great support for her family; Kelly Wilson, Julia Peter, Alicia Lewis, Kim Clisch, Abby Clisch, Makayla Droste, and LaTravia Allen. We would also like to thank Sarah R.N. of Lauris Hospice.
Visitation will be held at Gorsline-Runciman Tiffany Funeral Home, 3232 W. Saginaw St, Lansing, on Monday from 2-4 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Saint Gerard Catholic Church on Tuesday at 10:30 AM followed by the Rite of Committal at Saint Joseph Cemetery. Memorial contributions are suggested to St. Gerard Parish or St. Vincent Catholic Charities.