Gino P. Lucchetti, 88, a longtime resident of Chicago’s West Side and Oak Park, died on July 6, 2010. Born on March 17, 1922, he graduated from Austin High School. The only time he was away from the Chicago area was during World War II while he served in the Army (14th Armored Division, H company, 415th Regiment), beginning in December 1942. After being blown out of a foxhole in the battle for Hurtgen Forest and contracting mononucleosis, he was discharged in April 1945 and returned to Chicago where he resumed work at A. Austin Business Machines, a small company that he later owned and operated until declining health forced his retirement in 2004.
After the war, he attended the American Conservatory of Music for three years before the demands of a growing family prevented him from completing his degree. A well known singer, he performed at many weddings and funerals at St. Thomas Aquinas and other nearby Catholic parishes. His love of music and entertaining led to producing, directing, and singing in musical reviews for any and every occasion at the Ted Knusman Amvets Post 13 where he was a faithful member for over 60 years.
Mr. Lucchetti was a regular opinion contributor to the OpEd pages in the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune. He wrote so many letters that he was invited to attend several Tribune Vox Populi recognition dinners. Occasionally his opinions appeared in both papers on the same day. On Father’s Day, June 19, 2005, his letter-writing was recognized on the Sun-Times editorial page by his son (Stephen) with a separate editorial page montage of past letters.
Friends of WGN radio and Bob Collins may remember the years of repartee between Collins and Lucchetti through live calls and letters read on the air. He was also a frequent contributor to Chuck Schaden’s Nostalgia Digest where he happily recalled remembrances of things past.
Known to his children, grandchildren and others as the Oak Park Ogre – the name he used to sign family letters for many, many years – his special wit and unique wisdom enriched their lives. OPO Press was founded in 2003 to gather together his writings so the family could remember and cherish his letters and plays and even love poems.
Gino Lucchetti is survived by his seven children, Lisa (Andrew) Cubbon, Stephen (Judy) Lucchetti, Lorna (Randy) Williams, Douglas Lucchetti, Gino L. Lucchetti, Ross (Teresa) Lucchetti, and Peter (Mickie) Lucchetti. He is also survived by numerous grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He will be missed by many.
Cremation has occurred. A memorial is being planned for later this year.