Michael Perrino, 80, of Elmhurst passed away surrounded by family on January 2, 2019. A veteran of the United States Air Force, his service went beyond that to his country. He was a loving husband to Sharon Jean for 57 years, loving father of Michael N. (Cindy) Perrino, Valerie (Jay) Cooper, and Natalie Perrino; a proud grandfather of Nico, Dan, and Christina Perrino; Jaden, Ethan, Caitlin, and Rachel Cooper, and Chance Perrino; a devoted son to the late Rose (nee Loizzi) and the late Nicholas Perrino; a dear brother of Theresa Perrino and the late Marie Loizzi; a fond uncle of Francine (Ray) LeRoy and the late Roselle Frey; and an honored great uncle of Matt LeRoy, Rae-Mi LeRoy, Carolyn Arny, and Kevin Frey.
The son of immigrants from southern Italy, Michael was born and raised in Melrose Park, Illinois and attended high school at Proviso East, class of 1956. After graduation, he enlisted in the Air Force. When he returned home after his time in the service, he went to work at Jewel-Osco. There, he met his future wife Sharon, who also worked at Jewel and who would purposely stock shelves near his butcher’s station to try and capture his attention. It worked, they married, they had three children, and they built a life together. Michael and Sharon later moved to Elmhurst with their young kids. It was there that Michael spent most of his life, raising the kids, visiting with his grandchildren, and enjoying his retirement after 40 years working at Jewel-Osco.
Those who remember Michael will remember him for many things, including his hearty laugh, his big smile, and his stories. Among his favorite stories to tell were those about his family and his time in the Air Force; stories about hitchhiking home from California on Route 66, about the mostaccioli his Italian mother made, and about the homemade walnuts and almonds his father and uncles would use at the dinner table to re-enact World War I battles from their time in the Italian army.
Michael was also a man of many talents and interests. He could draw a perfect knight on horseback and had the most beautiful penmanship; he loved boats and built elaborate galleon models; he could play the harmonica if you put one in front of him and he once built a guitar from scratch.
Because he came from a poor immigrant family that emphasized work over education, Michael never attended college. But that didn’t stop him from becoming a lifelong learner. He was a voracious reader, always with a stack of books from the library on the end table (usually non-fiction). Among his proudest moments was seeing all three of children graduate from college.
In his retirement, Michael’s grandchildren were a constant source of pride, fulfillment, and joy for him. When he wasn’t building battlefield models with them, taking them on fishing excursions in Eldridge Park, or leading them on explorations of Graue Mill or the Morton Arboretum, he could be found at their sporting events, graduation ceremonies, and dinner tables — always with a smile, a good story, and reminders of how proud he was of them.
Memorial visitation for Michael Perrino will be held on Sunday, January 6, 2019 at the Ahlgrim Funeral Home, 567 S. Spring Rd., Elmhurst from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., with a time for sharing remembrances at 3:00 p.m. Memorials for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (stjude.org) are appreciated. More info at 630-834-3515 or www.ahlgrim.com. hide