Joseph A. DelGiorno

Joseph A. DelGiorno, 88, of Springfield and formerly of Chicago, died Thursday, January 28, 2021, at the home of his son, Tony DelGiorno, in Springfield surrounded by his family after battling complications from COVID-19.

Joe (or Joey, as his close friends and family called him), was born November 10, 1932, in Chicago to Italian immigrant parents, Gelsemino (John) DelGiorno and Theresa DelGiorno (nee Trotta). He moved to Springfield in 1977 after meeting his wife, Shirley Colson, of Springfield. They married April 30, 1977 and had one child, Tony.

Raised during the Depression in Chicago in the “Old Neighborhood”, which is now known as the Little Italy area of the city, Joe worked in his father’s bread bakery, Campania Bakery, until it was sold in the 1950s to the Turano family, which still operates it as Turano Bakery, today. He attended St. Phillip High School in Chicago and completed an Associates Degree at Lincoln Land Community College after moving to Springfield.

With a gift of gab that could sell water to a fish, Joe was a top salesman – primarily for insurance products. In the late 1970s he was the top salesman for Western-Southern Life Insurance. Economic changes in the early 1980s made door-to-door sales and insurance products difficult to sell resulting in him taking odd jobs. None he enjoyed more than being a cab driver, a job he first had on the streets of Chicago, where he transported such Hollywood stars as Martin Landau and Totie Fields.

Despite a penchant for playing the ponies and figuring lottery numbers to bet, Joe was a doting father (constantly trying to drum up business for his son, “the lawyer”) and devoted Catholic and former member of the Knights of Columbus. He preferred fish on Fridays and going to Confession before each Holy Communion – though the Pope had long ago said neither were required after Vatican II.

He was a die-hard Democrat saying he was born under Franklin Delano Roosevelt and got mad when it was pointed out that Herbert Hoover was still President at the time he was born. He volunteered for the Sangamon County Democrats and numerous other campaigns – always one to go get petition signatures for his wife, Shirley, who was a precinct committeeperson limited by her own health ailments. He was a proud papa when he was able to witness his son be sworn in as an elected member of the Sangamon County Board. Though he was in the hospital and dreadfully ill from COVID-19, Joe watched TV and had the nurse call his son to ask him “Did you see what Trump’s trying to do now?”

Due to several health issues, Joe had been a long-time resident at Heritage Health in Springfield. He contracted COVID-19 there, being diagnosed on Thanksgiving Day. In typical Joey fashion, he was a “day late and a dollar short” because the vaccine would be administered to long-term care residents within a month. After days without symptoms, he began to have respiratory complications and fatigue. He was hospitalized at Memorial Medical Center on December 15, 2020, and in the words of his physician “shockingly” improved avoiding the need for intubation and released from isolation. However, unbeknownst to everyone, the virus had been wreaking havoc on his renal system – ultimately causing kidney failure. While Joe was willing to fight the week before with intubation, dialysis was too much to fathom after witnessing his wife suffer through 18 months of treatment.

On Saturday, January 9, 2021, Nonni (as he wanted to be called by his beloved granddaughter) was taken home for hospice. The look of relief, tears, and expression of joy he made knowing that he would finally get to see his precious one-and-only granddaughter, Sophia, was heart wrenching. However, in his final days at home, he got to have the hugs and kisses that he had missed since the pandemic started. He mouthed the words to Dino and Sinatra songs and other music played to make him comfortable and happy. His care was provided by Memorial Home Hospice, his son, daughter-in-law, her mother, and his granddaughter (the “tech, nurses, and aide, respectively”).

Joey was preceded in death by his parents, John and Theresa DelGiorno, his wife of 26 years, Shirley Colson DelGiorno, his sister, Josephine (who died before he was born and for whom he was named), and his brother, Fred. He is survived by his son, Tony (Nichol) DelGiorno; his granddaughter, Sophia; his in-law, Betty Higgerson, of Springfield; his brother, James (Marie) of Itasca, IL, and several nieces and nephews.

Visitation: 10am – 12pm Friday, February 5, 2021 at Staab Funeral Home – Springfield.

Funeral Service: 12pm, Friday, February 5, 2021 at Staab Funeral Home – Springfield with Deacon Larry Smith of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception officiating. Interment will follow at Oakland Cemetery in Petersburg next to Shirley.

Live-stream link: to be updated.

In lieu of flowers, you are asked to take the pandemic seriously, stay home, and wear your damned mask. “Ah ma’don …don’t be a Baciagaloop!”

CDC Protocol shall be followed.

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