Catholic 04

Edith "Didi" Margarida (Roque Jorge) De Martini

December 31, 1936 ~ February 8, 2024 (age 87) 87 Years Old

Edith "Didi" De Martini Obituary

Edith (Didi) Margarida Roque Jorge De Martini was born in Macao, China on December 31st, 1936 to Edith Machado da Costa Roque and Adolfo Jorge, the third of five children.  At that time, Macao was a Portuguese colony.  Didi attended Santa Rosa de Lima school and Liceu Infante D. Henrique; she spent her childhood between Macao and family homes in Lisbon and Colares, Portugal. 

Didi frequently shared stories of her childhood in Macao, including World War II during which the island was occupied by the Japanese and the later attempt by communist China to take over the island. During this time, Didi lost all three of her brothers, ranging in age from 1 to 7 years old, within one year.  When she was twelve years old, she welcomed a new brother, Nuno.

As a teenager, Didi moved to Switzerland and France to continue her studies.  She attended Pensionnat Florissant (Class of ’53) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and spent a great deal of time in Champery, where she founded and was president of the AIAC (“Association Internacionale des Amities Champerolaines”). In France, she studied interior design at Ecole D’Arts Decoratifs (Class of ’57) in Paris while continuing her studies in art.  She received a Diploma of French from Lycee de Jeunes Filles, in Lausanne, Switzerland and enjoyed playing tennis and skiing among other hobbies.

Upon her return to Macao at the age of 21, she helped open the Banque Nacionale de Paris in Hong Kong and worked there as well as at the Swiss Consulate, which is how she met Miguel De Martini a young diplomat from San Rafael, Mendoza, Argentina, who was assigned to the Argentine Consulate in Hong Kong.  Six months later, on January 31st, 1959 the two were married at Penha Church in Macao.  Three days into their honeymoon at Sun Moon Lake, they were posted to Taipei, Taiwan where Miguel was the Head of Mission, along with a brief assignment in Indonesia.  Their first daughter, Maria Andrea was born in November 1959 and in January 1961, their second daughter Isabella Alejandra was born.  While in Taiwan, Didi served as Activities Chairperson of the International Women’s Club and was a Founder-Member of the Tien Medical Center in Taipei. They remained in Taiwan for three years until they were transferred back to Buenos Aires, Argentina for Miguel to Head the Department of Asia and Oceania at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Two years later, they were transferred back to Taiwan and during this assignment, their youngest daughter Patricia Cristina was born.  After five years, they were once again transferred back to Argentina, until 1971 when he was posted as Consul General to Hong Kong and Didi once again packed up and created a new home for the family.

During their time in Hong Kong, Didi was an active volunteer in many charities.  She also served on the board of directors of the Duchess of Kent Orthopedic Children’s Hospital. In 1972 the family survived a massive landslide which resulted from Typhoon Rose and killed over 150 people, destroying much of the family’s residence.  Didi’s extensive candle collection was used to find survivors within the building where they lived.

In 1976 the family was transferred back to Argentina, remaining for less than 2 years before being transferred to the Holy See where they remained for 23 months.  Didi loved this time in Italy, which allowed her the opportunity to participate in historical events at the Vatican during the time of Popes Paul VI, John Paul I and St. John Paul II. Didi loved cooking Chinese food and making Argentine steaks for the clergy who would frequently (and loudly) watch soccer games at our home in Rome. Much time was also spent with Miguel’s family in the south of Italy, where his mother was from.

After two years at the Vatican, Miguel was appointed Argentine Ambassador concurrently to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Burma, and the family moved in 1979 to their new home base of Bangkok, Thailand where Miguel eventually served as Dean of the Diplomatic Corp. 

Once again, it didn’t take long for Didi to feel at home, becoming very active at numerous charities, such as president of the Royal Thai Red Cross Society, chairman of The Society for the Blind, president of the YWCA, vice chairperson of the Diplomatic Fund Raising Division of the Thai Red Cross Society, chair of the YWCA Charity Bazaar organizing committee and official translator and member of the organizing committee of CONEX ’82, member of the board of directors of the Christian Children’s Happy Home and the Organizing Committee of the Gala Ballet Performance of Queen Sirikit Ballet Corps, and member of the Board of Directors of the International School of Bangkok, among several others. 

During this time, she was awarded The Red Cross First Class Medal by the King and Queen of Thailand.  She was also awarded the Benemerenti Medal by Pope John Paul II for her service to the Catholic Church; this medal was bestowed on her by the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Thailand, Renato (Cardinal) Martino, on behalf of Pope John Paul II. 

Thailand provided much inspiration for her artwork, for which she used oil, acrylic and watercolor. It was during this time that Didi expanded her portfolio of paintings from flowers, scenery and portraits, to include tropical fruits. Many of her paintings have been exhibited internationally, published in books, and been donated for charitable fundraising.  She also taught Chinese Brush Painting and held conferences in Argentina on the “Art of Chinese Brush Painting” and “Macau: Where East Meets the West” at the National Museum of Thailand.

In 1986, Miguel and Didi were transferred back to Argentina, prior to moving to their final assignment for two years where Miguel served as Ambassador to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.  Their home in Islamabad, at the base of the Margala Hills once again proved to provide inspiration for Didi’s paintings.

In the 1990s, Didi and Miguel began splitting their retirement life between their home in Argentina and Farmington, USA.   In 2006, along with her daughters, Didi opened Tre Sorelle Boutique in downtown Farmington, and in 2019, Didi became a proud U.S. citizen.  In 2022 she started a company and purchased the former Pages building in Farmington, becoming a commercial landlord and “business woman”, a role she was proud to start as an 85 year old!

Didi was a talented linguist, speaking fluent French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Cantonese, Mandarin and limited German and Thai.  She loved to play bridge, entertain and cook, creating delicious Portuguese, Argentine, Italian and Chinese meals.

The role she cherished most in life was that of mother to the late Maria Andrea (Kevin) Yeo, Isabella Alejandra (Steven) Lawson and Patricia Cristina (Joseph) Williams and grandmother to Katiana, Noelle, Joseph, Miguel, Tessa, Christopher, Blaise and Francisco. 

Didi lived a full life rich with experiences.  In 1992, she wrote a book “The Wind Amongst the Ruins” recounting her childhood in Macao during World War II. She also compiled and edited several cookbooks, created Christmas Greeting cards and donated paintings for the benefit of various charities.

While her life was riddled with multiple international moves, she always focused on creating a home for her family, so that no matter where they were, the house they lived in was always a familiar home.  She will be remembered always for her kindness and generosity.

Visitation will be on Friday, February 16th from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Thayer Rock Funeral Home in Downtown Farmington with Rosary at 7 p.m.  Funeral Mass will be at Our Lady of Sorrows on Saturday, February 17th at 10:00 a.m. in state at 9:30 a.m. Inurnment will take place at a later date.  Memorials suggested to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital

 

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Services

Visitation
Friday
February 16, 2024

3:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Thayer-Rock Funeral Home
33603 Grand River Avenue
Farmington, MI 48335

Rosary
Friday
February 16, 2024

7:00 PM
Thayer-Rock Funeral Home
33603 Grand River Avenue
Farmington, MI 48335

Funeral Mass
Saturday
February 17, 2024

10:00 AM
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church (Farmington)

Donations

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105
Tel: 1-800-805-5856
Web: http://www.stjude.org/

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