Profiles

Zucchero a force for good in Addison

Running for village clerk of Addison never crossed Lucille Zucchero’s mind, but the nine-term veteran of the position says that she has loved her job from day one. As liaison between the village’s staff and board of trustees, Zucchero has helped countless people navigate their way through a variety of issues.  After 35 years on the job, people recognize her when she’s out and about. “I’m frequently stopped by residents with questions, concerns and opinions that I bring to the staff and board,” she says. “My relationship and trust with residents is very important to me.” Zucchero grew up in …

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Cascio loving every minute of life at 100

From World War II veteran and accomplished dentist to community leader and generous philanthropist, Dr. Sam Cascio has seemingly done it all. And yet, as he approaches 100, he remains a lively and active member of his community. Cascio was born on Aug. 27, 1924, to Joseph and Josephine Cascio. His father was born in Baltimore, Maryland, while his mother was born in Cefalù, Sicily, and immigrated with her family to the United States. His parents came from modest means and worked hard to make a living, says Cascio, who grew up on the Northwest Side of Chicago and attended …

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Bondì balances teaching, coaching, heading AATI

Antonino Bondì’s teaching career stemmed from an unlikely place: a goal of practicing pharmacy in Italy, where he’d always hoped to live. Nowadays, Bondì teaches Italian 1 and 2, Italian honors 3 and 4, and AP Italian at Rolling Meadows High School and is a diving coach at Prospect High School, both in suburban Chicago. For the past year, he’s also served as president of the Midwest Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Italian (AATI), an organization open to past, current and future teachers from the private or public sector, as well as college students who are studying …

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Valle honored by Chicago realty group

The Chicago Association of REALTORS® inducted Marion Valle into its Hall of Fame in 2023. “When it comes to real estate not only in Illinois, but also throughout the country, there’s one person who has had a significant hand in how we do business,” Chicago REALTOR® Magazine noted. “Valle’s impact on the real estate industry is seen with the historic appointments and positions he has held.” In 1974, he became the first full-time real estate commissioner for the state of Illinois, helping to establish the industry regulations that exist today. In 1980, he was hired by the National Association of …

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Spilotro enjoys ‘second career’ at Casa camp

  Defining her identity and pinpointing where she feels most at home — in Italy or the United States — has never been easy for Raffaella Spilotro, the director of the children’s summer camp at Casa Italia in Stone Park. That’s because, for the first nine years of her life, Spilotro grew up in Capurso, a small town in the province of Bari, Puglia, with her parents speaking only Italian. Her mother and father came with their families to America in the 1960s, met and married here, and decided to move back to Italy when she was 2 months hold. …

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Burgio club on the upswing since pandemic

Like other social clubs felled by the worldwide pandemic, the Burgio Woman’s Club could have dissolved in recent years. Instead, the 71-year-old nonprofit organization based in the Chicago area is experiencing a resurgence of new activity. “Our members really worked hard to keep it moving forward, and now we are stronger and more active than ever before,” says club President Annmarie Parisi. “It is a community of women, brought together for the love of our town of Burgio and Sicily. We share friendships, family, history and traditions, and also want to learn more and keep alive the customs that we …

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Arts academy honors Mustari at inaugural bash

Serving as the first principal of The Chicago Academy for The Arts was never the plan for Frank Mustari. A guidance counselor at Niles West High School in suburban Skokie, Mustari asked to take a leave of absence in 1981 to help establish the academy, the first of its kind in the city. “I thought the concept was a great idea. I was working at a high school that had virtually everything — an art department, a theater department, a music department. Chicago Public Schools didn’t have any of those things,” the 86-year-old says. “When I saw in the paper …

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Boxing legend Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini

After a brief-but-stellar career in prizefighting, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini has found satisfaction and success as a movie producer, winemaker, philanthropist and family man as well as Youngstown, Ohio’s, biggest booster. The world knows Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini as the formidable boxer with the charming personality who became a World Boxing Association lightweight champion at age 20. But boxing was simply one chapter of his life, and everything that has come after — family, acting, film production and philanthropy — has been just as satisfying and rewarding, the 63-year-old says. Throughout it all, Mancini has always been mindful of his …

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Kidlit author shines spotlight on Florence flood

  Though the great flood in Florence happened well before she was born, it became a lived experience for Karen Greenwald during extensive research for her children’s book on the catastrophic event. Award-winning children’s book author Karen Greenwald has never been to Florence, and yet she feels a deep connection to the Italian city. That’s because for three years, Greenwald conducted research and interviews about the overflowing of the Arno River in 1966, which dumped about 600,000 tons of mud and sewage onto Florence. The tragedy left more than 30 people dead, hundreds injured and thousands homeless. It also damaged …

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Beato Giovanni Liccio Society President Sapienza

After 27 years as a member of the Beato Giovanni Liccio Society of Chicago, current President Tony Sapienza is as active and enthusiastic as ever. The group’s mission is to promote and foster the teachings of its patron, Beato Giovanni Liccio, a 15th century priest from Caccamo, Sicily, who spent his life helping the needy and the poor, and to whom several miracles are attributed. “We follow the same teachings, songs and worships as they do in Caccamo,” Sapienza says. “It has forged a bond between the Chicago Caccamesi and the town of Caccamo.” Sapienza, 56, has worked for American …

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