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Denise Simone Nolent SOLIS (Memée)

Born on the 26th of May 1926, her favorite day, in Le Havre, Normandy, France … passed away the spring of 2017 on Tuesday, March 28th in Tampa, Florida. Denise celebrated her life with her family at her side, each and every day and loved spending time with family, especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who brought her pride and joy. A fearless, blue-eyed, blond Norman, Denise devoted her life to her family on both sides of the ocean. Denise was raised in her hometown of Le Havre, one of the largest port cities in Europe, and loved its beach and seafood where souvenirs of picnics and sunsets fill our memories. As an accomplished athlete in her younger days, Denise was an excellent swimmer and diver. She was training for the Olympics in 1939, but could not pursue that dream because of the outbreak of World War II. The war had many effects on her life as it separated her from her family and destroyed much of her hometown.

Denise worked as a translator and telephone operator for the American Armed Forces in Compiegne, France during WWII. She met her one and only love, her Rober (Robert) who was also stationed in Compiegne serving in the US Army Air Corps. Two shy people fell in love, courted for two years and eventually exchanged their vows on October 31, 1946 at the St. Michele Chapel in Le Havre. Denise and Robert joined her family for a three-day celebration following the wedding ceremony. This October Denise and Robert were again surrounded by their family in celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary and gazed at the moon overlooking Tampa Bay as they did many evenings.

Denise arrived on a liberty ship in New York City on February 13th, 1947 to join her husband in Texas and quickly became a proud American citizen. The early years were difficult for them, with barely enough money to live on. Denise had the gift to manage and save enough money for their first home in Amarillo, Texas, quite an accomplishment during these rough times for a military man returning with many WWII Veterans. She followed her husband all over the world, wherever he was stationed during his 27 years in the military, including Germany and France. Every summer the family took a month vacation, the early years in a 1951 Pontiac, exploring and traveling throughout Europe, the United States and Mexico.

Denise believed in helping the military community by volunteering at Mac Dill Air Force Base, where she welcomed new families and provided household items as they settled into the area. She also volunteered her time leading the Girl Scouts with her dear friend, Ruth Cooper, in Evreux France and taught Catechism classes at Ramstein AFB in Germany. Denise loved the arts and music in particular. She sang in many church choirs and loved to dance, always first on the floor. Our home was filled with music from Broadway plays, operas, and contemporary songs. Up until the very end, she would sing for you without hesitation … often French songs from her youth.

A stay at home mother, she decided to pursue a career with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service after her daughters left home. She received many awards for her excellent work and retired after twenty years of service to travel with her husband.

Denise loved both her daughters Annabelle (Tina) (Wayne Bailey, deceased) and Rose-Marie (Rosie) (Stephen Magriby). They became immersed in the history of France and the United States and continued her legacy to the grandchildren, Angelina, Steven, Michael, Thomas and Michelle and onto the great grandchildren Patrick, Nicholas, Anna, Jared, Charlotte, and Finnegan in addition to many nieces and nephews in France and the United States.

Denise was preceded in death by her mother, Marcelle Elie and her father Gaston Nolent, her sister Jacqueline Nolent, brother Lucien Nolent and sister Lilliane Monot, all of Le Havre, France.

Never at a loss for words, never a stranger to anyone she met, never a challenge that she could not overcome, never a doubt of her trust in God, she always helped those less fortunate, sharing her many creative talents and her beliefs that You do your best in life and always love Your fellow man. With a hug, a kiss and “I love you”; Mom bid us Adieu.