Paul Loparco has been elected president of the Illinois-Wisconsin Grand Lodge, Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America.
A member of OSDIA since 1999, Loparco served as trustee, vice president and president of Leone D’Oro Lodge #2700 before ascending to the state presidency.
“It’s a big step for me and I still have a lot to learn, but I’m certain I can handle it,” he says. “My goals are to increase membership, continue the OSDIA mission, and inform people about all of our wonderful charitable activities.”
Loparco joined the local lodge at the invitation of a friend, and he liked what he saw. “I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie and all of the new friends I’ve made along the way,” he explains. “We’re a very family oriented organization and our Italian focus gives us a unique appeal.”
“Not everyone is blessed to be Italian, and we are fortunate,” he adds. “We share a unique culture and can be proud that our heritage boasts of art, music, culture, education and great food.
A full-blooded Italian on both sides of his family, Loparco grew up in the Pullman neighborhood on the city’s Far South Side.
An educator for 55 years on the elementary, high-school and community-college levels, he primarily taught biology. His resume includes tenures at Blue Island Junior High School; Mendel Catholic, Hillcrest, Bremen, Oak Park and Tinley Park high schools; and South Suburban and Prairie State colleges.
After taking an educator’s tour of the Orlando Naval Training Center in Florida, he joined the Naval Reserve, becoming a collateral duty instructor and teaching Intelligence “A” school at Glenview Naval Air Station. His role as military educator expanded to include the Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. He was a Blue and Gold Officer for the Naval Academy for 16 years.
He and his wife, Linda, live in Oak Forest and have three children and six grandchildren.