Wendy Nicolette Kanno, 54, formerly of Oak Park, died suddenly and far too soon from health complications in Weston, Florida on June 30, 2023 with her loving family by her side. She was born on July 9, 1968 in Seoul, Korea and joined her father and family in Chicago when she was 1 year old, the fifth of eight children born to Hiroshi and Arlene Kanno. A true Oak Parker at heart, she grew up with her seven brothers and sisters on Lombard Avenue. She was on the gymnastics team at OPRF High School, worked at the old Geppetto’s restaurant part-time, and lived above the old Murphy’s restaurant in Oak Park.
After graduating from Oak Park and River Forest High School she went on to live the American Dream of independence, entrepreneurship, travel, home ownership, marriage, and motherhood. She was generous beyond measure with her time, energy and care for others. Together with her husband Mark, she started a company from their small apartment and grew it to eventually be acquired by one of the largest health-care companies in the nation. But retirement was not for her. She went on to author a book that encouraged young people to achieve their dreams, own a restaurant, obtain a real estate license and continue to build her “empire.” She enjoyed her legion of Florida friends, often playing pickleball and tennis, attending social events and hosting dinner parties. She was truly one of those rare people who impacted lives in big and small ways. We will miss her random texts throughout the year with recipes and healthy eating tips, photos of her pup Cody and her latest culinary creation. She will be remembered for her big heart, enthusiasm for sharing life with others, and the love she had for those closest to her.
Wendy leaves behind her son, Vance Kanno Hendryx; his father, Mark; Scott Gardner; her parents; her siblings, Mat, Ann, Kathy (Mike Wood), Paula, Stephanie (Grant Wegner), Ronnie, and Cary (Christina Grijalva); seven nephews, and dozens of cousins, aunts, and uncles. She was predeceased by her grandparents; her niece, Michelle Bernat; and Oak Park friends, Laura Southwick and Sherri Wyzykowski.
A Chicago-area Celebration of Life is planned for Labor Day weekend. Please contact Steph.firstname.lastname@example.org.