Geraldine Graziano (nee Alfani), 90, died on Aug. 2, 2015 at Alexian Brothers Hospice in Elk Grove Village, after a long series of illnesses. Born on Nov. 10, 1924, she was an Oak Park resident from the age of 4 and a St. Giles parishioner since the church was built. As a young girl, she was selected to give a speech in Italian to a crowd honoring the aviator Italo Balbo during his appearance at the 1933 Century of Progress in Chicago.
She attended Hatch School and graduated from Oak Park and River Forest High School in 1943. After high school, she attended Pestalozzi-Froebel Teachers College, now part of National Lewis University, and taught in Oak Park's Lincoln Elementary School until her marriage in 1950. A proud stay-at-home mom, she never lost her love of teaching and always remained involved in the educational endeavors of her son, Bruno, who remembers that when one of them was ill and stayed home, their mother would pick up their lessons and make sure they kept up with their classes. Often, when he returned to school, he was actually ahead of the class. When her boys were young, her car was known by every student in her sons' classes because she would drive them to and from school and would volunteer to go on field trips and other activities.
A two-time breast cancer survivor, she was severely limited physically in her later years, but her mind remained sharp to the end, always ready to challenge a point on the details of an issue, whether it was current events, politics, or family.
Geraldine Graziano is survived by her three sons, Bruno, Renato, and Enrico (Jacquelyn); her grandson, Antonio; and her extended family of step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by Victor, her husband of 55 years; her father, Corrado; her mother, Frances "Fannie" (nee Vitellaro); and her brother, Riccardo.
Visitation took place on Aug. 6 at Chicago's Peterson-Blassi Funeral Home. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Aug. 7 at St. Giles Church, followed by interment at All Saints Mausoleum in Des Plaines.
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