Mazzini honors worthy duo

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John Mirabelli was honored as Man of the Year and Marianne D’Amico as Woman of the Year at the Mazzini-Verdi Club’s President’s Ball in December.

John Frank Mirabelli was born on Feb. 28, 1938, at home near Taylor and Ashland. His parents, Enrico and Mary Anne Mirabelli, migrated from Calabria to Chicago in the early 1900s where they raised their six children: Edith, Irma, Louie, Theresa, Joe and John.

He attended Notre Dame and Holy Trinity grade schools and St. Philip’s High School. John met the love of his life, Julie, on a blind date at North Avenue Beach in 1957. They were from opposite sides of town. He was from Taylor Street, and she was from Grand and Laramie. Despite being miles apart and neither of them having a car, they made it work. John and Julie married on Oct. 23, 1960, and had three children: John, Rosemarie and Joe.

He held jobs with Rush Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Hospital and Western Electric before landing a promising position at the Florsheim Shoe Co. Each day, he traveled to the factory on Belmont and Pulaski, and his hard work and dedication did not go unnoticed. He worked his way up to plant superintendent overseeing 1,500 employees who produced 3,000 pairs of shoes daily.

When Florsheim began moving operations overseas, John accepted a promotion to director of quality control to supervise the global transition. He traveled internationally 38 times to six of the seven continents and frequently made stateside visits to the Florsheim factories outside of St. Louis.

John enjoyed the opportunity to explore new places, but his heart was always with his family and home country. When Florsheim was bought back by the original Florsheim family in Wisconsin, John decided to retire at age 64 after 43 years of service.

Happily enjoying his retirement, John is always out and about. Along with his wife and children, John enjoys spending time with the four grandchildren: Alexandra, Tina Marie, John Joseph and Dominique, of whom he is very proud. When he isn.t with his family, he is on the Bocce court. John is an active member of the Mazzini-Verdi Club, Molisani Nel Mondo and the Calabresi in America Organization.

Marianne D’Amico was the third-born child of Mariano and Francesca Conte in Ventimiglia, province of Palermo, Sicily. She has a brother, John, and sisters (the late) Josephine and Frances. The family immigrated to Chicago in February 1948 by first arriving in New York on a U.S. Naval Ship the Marine Perch.

Marianne attended St. Rita and later graduated from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Grammar school. She started at St. Sebastian and later graduated from East Leyden High School.

In 1965, Marianne married the love of her life, Joseph D’Amico. The have two daughters, Elisa Maloberti with grandchildren Claudia and Nick, also Francine Barta with grandchildren Marco and Marcella.

Marianne has endless energy. With the help of her family, she opened European Gifts, which she operated for 10 years. She was a two-term president of the Mazzini-Verdi Ladies Club and volunteers for the Comboni Missionaries, Casa Italia’s Italian Children’s Summer Camp and Radio Maria for the poor. She is a member of St. Goretti’s Ladies Club and the Italian Catholic Federation # 439.


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Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.

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