DiFrancesco Sr., Alfred "Fred" Joseph Dec. 13, 1922-Aug. 19, 2020 and Lillian Ardith (Smith) DiFrancesco Sept. 24, 1923-Jan. 3, 2013 Residents of Kalamazoo and Otsego Michigan Lillian and Fred met at a USO dance in Kalamazoo at the YWCA in May of 1943 while Fred was going through MP training at Fort Custer and Lil was working in Kalamazoo as a bookkeeper. They dated until Fred shipped out in July. Fred was born December 13, 1922, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Angelo and Adelina (D'Agostino) DiFrancesco, both immigrants from Italy. He was the 8th of a family of 11 children. He attended Robert Fulton Grade School, Roosevelt Jr. High, and Germantown High School. After High School, he took a job with Frankfurt Worster Mill where they made Russian Blankets. While cleaning a machine, he lost part of his thumb in an industrial accident. He always liked to tell the little kids that this is what would happen to them if they sucked their thumb. He joined the Army in January 1943 doing basic training in Miami Beach, Florida and MP training at Fort Custer in Michigan. In October, as an MP, he was shipped to Scotland on the Queen Mary and then on to an airbase near Norwich, England where he guarded the B24s. Lillian was born September 24, 1923, in Kalamazoo Michigan to Martin and Anna (Richter) Smith. She was the 2nd of 4 children. She moved with the family to Detroit when she was 6 and remembers selling papers on the street with her older brother Bob. When she was 11, the family moved back to Kalamazoo to be closer to family as her mother was experiencing mental health issues. They lived in a house with 16 family members. The next year while attending 8th grade, the family broke up. Her mother was sent to an asylum, she and her siblings moved to Comstock to live with her Uncle Albert and Aunt Ruth while her father moved to Detroit for work. That summer, her Uncle Albert bought a farm in Galesburg, and she started 9th grade at Galesburg High School. She didn't like the farm life and sought out help through the school. She took on the job of a live-in nanny and did this with four different families through all her high school years. After High School, Lil had several jobs in Kalamazoo. After working at A&P and Kroger stores, she then went to Maher's Business College. With her business college experience, she got a job with Associated Discount Corporation (a loan company.) It was while working for the loan company that she met Fred at a USO dance in May 1943, and they dated until he shipped out in July. Lillian joined the Waves in October 1944. She did basic training at Hunter College in New York City, and then was sent to Milledgeville, Georgia for 3 months to attend storekeeper school. As a storekeeper 3rd class, she was assigned to a naval supply depot in Mechanicsburg Pennsylvania, southwest of Harrisburg. Here she made the Navy newspaper as the winner of the Jitter-bug contest at a Navy dance. When Germany surrendered in May 1945, Fred was transferred to Casablanca where he guarded radar installations and planes. This area also had prisoners of war, but they were lightly guarded. Fred would often eat with the Italian POWs because he thought they had the best food. When Japan surrendered in September 1945, he was transferred to Japan. He was flown from Casablanca to the east coast of the U.S. and across the U.S. to as far as Mather field in California where the duty officer told him he had enough points to get out of the service. Fred had a cross-country train ride home and was discharged at Fort Dix, New Jersey on November 5, 1945. Fred had kept in touch with Lil during the war. When he was discharged, he contacted her and asked her to meet the family in Philadelphia in November. They were married December 22, 1945, in Philadelphia. A planned honeymoon was scuttled by a two-foot snowstorm. Lillian was discharged in Washington, D.C. in January 1946. Fred and Lil moved back to Kalamazoo where they raised 2 sons, Alfred Jr., and Robert. After several jobs, Fred landed a factory position at Sutherland Paper Company in August of 1948. He would work there until he retired. Lillian also got an office position at Sutherland Paper Company in 1951 after her oldest son turned 5. She too would work there until retirement. Both Fred and Lil liked to keep busy. They were members of the bowling league, and they both golfed. Fred was a volunteer fireman. The family liked to be outside, and they would go camping with the Berner family along the shore of Lake Michigan. As the kids got older, the families took camping trips to Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore. No matter where they were, a knowing look and a simple nod and they were on the dance floor. They loved to travel, seeing Florida, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, and the Seattle World's Fair. After retirement, they would travel to Italy, Japan and China and take several cruises in the Gulf and the Mediterranean. After retirement they bought a second home in Winter Haven, Florida and became "snowbirds," spending the summers in Michigan and the winters in Florida, visiting their boys and grandkids in Michigan and California. Kids at heart, they loved the beauty of Cypress Gardens and the fun of Disney World. They were always up for company and couldn't wait to have visitors. They celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary in December 2012. On January 2, 2013, Lillian went to bed with a headache. In the early morning hours, an aneurysm burst in her brain, and she died in her sleep. When their son, Robert, died on October 25, 2013 of brain cancer, Fred moved to California to be with Al Jr. and his family. There he played with his 6 great-grandchildren. Although he couldn't always hear them or understand them, he still loved them. The entire family celebrated his 97th birthday in December 2019 with a large pizza party. He died in his sleep with Al Jr. at his side on August 19, 2020. Lillian Ardith (Smith) DiFrancesco, 89, of Otsego, died January 3, 2013. Lil was preceded in death by her 3 siblings, Robert Smith of Lansing, Michigan, Fern Victoria (Smith) Berner of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Clara May (Smith) Srackangast of Galesburg, Michigan. Alfred Joseph DiFrancesco, 97, of San Jose, California, died August 19, 2020. He was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Lillian Ardith (Smith) DiFrancesco; one son, Robert of Otsego, Michigan; seven siblings, Mary DiFrancesco, age 3, Amelia Rizzo, Viola DiFrancesco, and Edith DiMaria of Philadelphia PA, Lola DiMaria of Melbourne, Florida, Mary Rose Helsen of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, and Patrick Robert Francis of Melbourne, Florida. He is survived by three siblings, Guido DiFrancesco, William DiFrancesco and his wife Florence, and Raymond DiFrancesco and his wife Janet all from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; his daughter-in-law Gail DiFrancesco of Otsego, Michigan; one son, Alfred Jr. and his wife Kathleen (Brankin) of Cupertino, California; three granddaughters, Alison Marie of Texas, Christine Coleman and husband Ryan of California, Carolyn DiFrancesco and her husband Morgan Lingle of California; and six great grandchildren Jack Coleman, Sarah Coleman, Katie Coleman, and Thomas Coleman of Campbell, California, Graham Lingle and Emery Lingle of Los Altos, California. Fred and Lil will be laid to rest, together, at the Fort Custer National Cemetery on August 1, 2022, at 10:30 am. Together they will be dance partners forever.