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Doreen Squire Ficara

October 24, 1927 - June 20, 2016
Carmel, IN



Saturday, June 25, 2016
6:00 AM EDT

Services will be held in Carmel, Indiana

Life Story / Obituary


Most people would say that they would like to make the world a better place, but Doreen Squire Ficara didn't just say it. She lived it, dedicating her life to serving her family and her community. No matter where she lived, Doreen devoted countless hours toward city improvements and civic pride. Her sincere concern for those around her drew people to her everywhere she went. She also invested limitless energy into the lives of her children and grandchildren, leaving a lasting impression on each one.

Doreen was born on October 24, 1927, to Gladys (Rickman) and Thomas Squire at her paternal grandparents home, Hole Farm, near the quaint village of Holbeton in Devon, England. The rolling fields outlined by tall hardwoods and dotted with centuries-old buildings made a picturesque backdrop for a little girl growing up among loving family members and a close-knit community. As she grew, she loved visiting Hole Farm, managed by her Uncle Evan and Aunt Isabel, but wouldn't enter the room that had been her birthplace for fear of the mice that frequented there.

As a girl, Doreen's summers were spent at her maternal grandparents fourteen-room home. She stayed in their summerhouse within a large garden surrounded by a stone wall. She used fruit from the garden's fruit trees and milk from her Uncle Bert's dairy farm to make stewed fruit and custard on the primus stove that her grandfather gave her. A girl named Pam lived next door and was a wonderful friend with whom to pass the summer.

During the rest of the year, Doreen lived with her parents and three siblings, Ronald, Clifford, and Myrtle, in the seaside town of Sidmouth. There was no television and Doreen learned about events in the world by listening to the radio. There were family picnics and mini golf, rounders and cricket, and bowling on the green. Despite the peaceful surroundings and idyllic landscape, there were disturbing reports coming from across the Channel, and just before Doreen's twelfth birthday, the whole world turned upside down.

On September 1, 1939, the news quickly spread that Germany had invaded Poland. Two days later, Doreen was at her grandparents' home when she learned that her beloved country as well as France had declared war on Germany. Doreen's world took a drastic turn as the life she had known vanished. She now had to take a gas mask with her wherever she went, and the memory of the shiny blue filter cover never left her. Her family took in three adult evacuees from London and there were no more visits to the beach since the shore was lined with barbed wire to help protect against a German invasion. While she attended school in Exeter, twenty miles from home, air raid sirens would awaken her at night and she would take refuge in a Morrison shelter, a cage-like structure that offered protection in the event of a building collapse. Doreen's job was to make sure fresh water was available and to bring a hatchet in case the roof fell in and they needed to make their way out.

Doreen got a job as a clerk at Lloyds Bank in Exeter. She was already showing her heart for helping others as she spent two or three evenings a week serving coffee and doughnuts to servicemen at one of several temporary, mobile clubs known as "Donut Dugouts" that the American Red Cross sent across Europe to encourage soldiers. It was here that Doreen's life would take another drastic turn, but this one was much more pleasant.

Doreen met a soldier at the Dugout named Cuncetto "Antonio" Ficara. The American Navy had established a small airfield at nearby Dunkeswell and Antonio was stationed there on shore patrol as a bombardier. He declared himself smitten and proposed to Doreen on her seventeenth birthday. Shortly thereafter, Antonio returned to the States. Doreen worked at Lloyds Bank until she transferred to the chief office in London on Threadneedle Street.

Antonio was persistent and in 1947 he proposed again. Doreen began the paperwork necessary to move to America and made the trip by plane on January 7, 1948, when she was just nineteen. Doreen and Antonio were married on February 14, 1948, in Paulsboro, New Jersey, then moved to Woodbury soon after. Doreen was delighted to become a mother and was blessed five times over with Anthony, Tommy, daughter Terry (Shields), Kevin, and Matthew. Doreen served as the president of the PTA for two years and took on the ambitious project of writing the history of Woodbury from 1682 to 1963. Never idle, she worked part-time at the Gloucester County Medical Society while also working full-time at Atlantic Aviation at the Philadelphia Airport.

Antonio's job brought the family to Indianapolis in 1970 and Doreen began investing in her new community almost immediately. She worked at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and enjoyed spending time with their wonderful neighbors on Welham Road. She also worked as an interior decorator and specialized in hanging wallpaper. The family moved to Mickleton, New Jersey, for a time where she started an antique group, and then in 1983 they bought a house on Hawthorn Drive in Carmel, Indiana. She and Antonio were married for thirty-seven years.

Once again, Doreen dove into community activities, always looking for ways to better the lives of those around her. She served as a member of the Carmel Symphony board for eleven years and wrote a twenty-year history of the Symphony. She was president of the Women’s Guild from 1988-90 and participated in fundraisers. As a member of the Carmel Rotary, she co-wrote a timeline record of thirty years of Carmel. She accepted the post of Executive Director of the Carmel Arts Council (CAC) in 1994 and then raised money and secured an underwriter for a book covering CAC history. Her work didn't stop there.

Doreen worked toward earning Carmel the distinction of having the World's Smallest Children's Art Gallery officially recognized by Guinness World Records in 1999. She organized and presented the English Silver Tea from the year 2000 - 2016. Her love and respect of history drove her to work with the Carmel Clay Veterans Memorial Corporation to raise money for a bronze statue and to relentlessly research seven localities and buildings so that bronze plaques commemorating their historical significance could be installed. She was a member of the steering committee for the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in 2011 and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre.

In the midst of all of her activities, Doreen took time to beautify her own space, too, finding peace and purpose in tending the ground. She had a lovely flower garden around her house, one that drew comments of admiration from all passersby. Even as she was dying, she reminded those with her, "Don't forget to water the flowers." She also always made time for her family and they knew how precious they were to her. Doreen left the world better than she found it, and that legacy will continue to influence those who knew and loved her.

Doreen died peacefully at home in Carmel, Indiana, on Monday, June 20, 2016. She is survived by her five children; fourteen grandchildren; and twelve great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at the Chapel of Carmel United Methodist Church, 621 S. Rangeline Rd., at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 25, 2016. In lieu of flowers, donations to her church are welcome. There will be a celebration in her honor at the SoHo Cafe & Gallery at 12:30 - 3:00 p.m., on Saturday, June 25, 2016. Friends may share a favorite photo or memory and sign the online guest register by visiting Doreen's personal webpage at http://www.lifestorynet.com/obituaries/doreen-squire-ficara.112654.