Joan W. Dalis

by | Mar 4, 2019 | Obituaries

Norfolk—Joan W. Dalis, daughter of the late Robert Henry Wingfield and Edith Asby Wingfield, passed away peacefully in her home on Sunday, February 24, surrounded by her loving family.

She was proud to be a Norfolk native, born in Berkley and attended Maury High School. Joan was a lifelong resident of Norfolk and loved her hometown and its residents. Joan married twice, first to M. Dan Dalis, who died in 1972, and then to Dr. Alexander L. Martone, DDS, who died in 1996. From her own internal compass, and what she learned in both of her marriages, as well as personal experience of being twice widowed, she became both a strong and independent real estate businesswoman and a dedicated patron of the arts and many other charitable organizations in Hampton Roads. In business, she was a tough and patient negotiator. She especially cared about Ward’s Corner, where Dr. Martone had built the northeast corner of the shopping district in 1947 and operated his dental practice and real estate businesses there for many years. Joan renovated the shopping center’s exterior to make it modern and attractive.

Joan’s passion for the arts and the many charities she supported will not end with her passing, but will live on through The Dalis Foundation, which she helped create following the death of her first husband, Dan. Joan was passionate about the good she was able to do through her role as president of The Dalis Foundation and the many charities it supported. Through those donations and her contagious personality, she touched and inspired many individuals in her brief walk through life. When Joan saw a need, she felt compelled to help solve the problem. Thus, the sudden death of her first husband, Dan Dalis, from a heart attack at the opening night of Chrysler Hall in 1972, inspired Joan to provide funding to have advanced medical equipment installed in all of the City’s ambulances.

Similarly, when the Virginia Arts Festival was created, she committed The Dalis Foundation’s support to it, helping, together with many other very generous arts supporters. Joan and her beloved friend Rob Cross and the City of Norfolk has continued to grow the Virginia Arts Festival into the extraordinary organization it is today. In addition to the arts, Joan was committed to many other causes, including human rights, women’s rights, reproductive rights, educating youth and helping those who needed assistance to fuel their passions. Her love touched many through her work with and financial support of many organizations, including The Virginia Arts Festival, The Hurrah Players, The Governor’s School for the Arts, Eastern Virginia Medical School, The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, Planned Parenthood of Virginia, KelsKids, The Tidewater Orchid Society, An Achievable Dream, The JT Walk, Hope House, Salvation Army, The Alzheimer’s Association, and The American Cancer Society.

She never forgot that her ability to help so many was a blessing, and that thought, and her generosity carried on throughout her life. Joan is survived by her loving sister and brother-in-law, Sandy and Fritz Evans and loving nephews Matthew Norment, Michael Norment, Steve Wingfield, and her niece, Kathy Wingfield Cooper.

Her funeral took place at Forest Lawn Cemetery, followed by a memorial service at Ohef Sholom Temple, both performed by her longtime friend Rabbi Lawrence A. Forman. Donations to the charity of your choice. Online condolences may be made to the family at