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1925 Irene 2022

Irene Frantini

July 3, 1925 — December 4, 2022


Irene (Valerugo) Frantini 


Irene (Valerugo) Frantini, the 97-year-old matriarch of a large and close-knit family, passed away at home on Sunday, December 4, 2022, surrounded by the great love and care of her loved ones.

Irene, the youngest of six children of John and Antonietta, was born July 3, 1925 in South Wilmington, Illinois. Her family later moved to Joliet, where she met her future husband, Louis Frantini, at the young age of 15. The couple eventually married in 1946 after Lou's WW2 Navy service, and they had four children. 

Irene was always proud of the shorthand skills she developed and was commended for in high school. Those skills landed her a job at Western United as a secretary, where Lou was also hired upon his return from war. After raising their young children, Irene again worked as a secretary at Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home in Joliet. She and Lou created many great memories through the years for their children, and even grandchildren, during vacations to Wisconsin and beautiful northern Minnesota with Irene's siblings and their families.

Irene credited her long-time mental acuity to working crossword puzzles and watching game shows. She also enjoyed cleaning and tidying her house, which she said kept her active—along with riding her exercise bike for ten minutes a day, even into her 90s. 

Irene's family meant everything to her, and she said over and over until her death that she was the luckiest person in the world to have such a wonderful family. Kindness was her compass, and throughout her life, she urged everyone to love unconditionally and forgive each other's shortcomings. She was sweet, humble, and always put others before herself. She had a want for nothing, and lived with a sense of gratitude that reminded those around her to appreciate every blessing. 


Irene was preceded in death by her husband, Lou, and all five of her siblings and their spouses: Theresa "Trix" (John) Spesia, Marie (Charles) Tapella, Domenic (Edelweiss "Sis") Valerugo, Margaret "Rita" (LaVerne) Kinzler and her first husband Angelo Lucaora, and brother William, who died as a teenager.

She is survived by her four children, Nancy (Jack) Futterer, Rick (Sue) Frantini, Lorrie (Jim) Malinowski and Tom (Pam) Frantini and grandchildren Julie Futterer, Eric (Brooke) Futterer, Sara (Mark) Conley, Mike (Danielle) Frantini, Andrea (Mike) Paschke, Lisa (Aaron) Heap, Michele (David) Samhat, Rachel (Dan) Fisher, Brett Frantini and Ashley Barnett, Hannah Frantini, and just-like-granddaughters, Alli and Maddie Lee. She also leaves a legacy of love with her great-grandchildren Molly Futterer; Ava and Lyla Conley; Justin and Gianna Frantini; Leo, Amelia and Quinn Paschke; Greyson and Lydia Heap; Jayce Frantini and Madisyn Barnett; and three more on the way. She is survived by many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews, and cousins.

The family would like to thank Gentle Touch Home Assist and caretakers Marilyn and especially Regina, who provided comfort and support to not only Irene, but also the whole family during this time. Thanks to Dr. Govind Ramadurai; Patty Peterson, APN, NP-C; the caring staff at Alden Estates of Shorewood; Lightways Hospice; and all those who helped to keep Irene healthy so she could stay with her family for so many years.

Visitation will take place Thursday, December 8 from 4-8 p.m. at Blackburn Giegerich Sonntag Funeral Home, 1500 Black Road, Joliet. Funeral services will begin at the funeral home on Friday, December 9, at 9:00 a.m. with prayers at 9:30 a.m., followed by a procession to the Church of St. Anthony, 100 N. Scott Street, Joliet for a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. Interment to follow at Woodlawn Memorial Park, Joliet.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Irene Frantini, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Thursday, December 8, 2022

4:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

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Friday, December 9, 2022

10:00 - 10:45 am (Central time)

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