John E. Dizonno, age 85, of Lombard and formerly of Melrose Park

Written by Brust Funeral Home on March 4th, 2018

John E DizonnoAmerican FlagJohn E. Dizonno, a resident of Lombard for over 21 years and formerly of Melrose Park, passed away at home on February 28, 2018. Left behind to cherish the lasting memories are his wife Celia; children: John Jr. (Heidi), Diana Salerno (Brad Peters), Anna (Scott) Pahl, Joe, Mike (Jackie), Mary, Jimi (Christine Specchio), Debbie (Marty) Sampson; sister: Yolanda Beckwith, FL; Nine grandchildren, one great-granddaughter and numerous nieces and nephews. His family imagines he was greeted with a large glass of red wine and a good cigar by his first wife Millie and is sitting at a table catching up with his parents and 8 siblings that preceded him in death.

Visitation will be held Tuesday, March 6th, from 4 PM to 8 PM at Brust Funeral Home, 135 South Main Street, Lombard.  Funeral Services are Wednesday with prayers at 9:30 AM from Brust Funeral Home to Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 114 S. Elizabeth Street, Lombard for 10 AM Mass.  Interment will follow at Mt. Emblem Cemetery in Elmhurst.

John was born June 12, 1932, in Chicago, to John and Anna Dizonno.  He grew up in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. He was the youngest and enjoyed spending time with his older siblings. As a young boy, he often spent Saturday afternoons at the movies enjoying the weekly features and a Hershey bar or two. He built up his strong work ethic early on by delivering papers for The Chicago Herald American while attending Morse Grammar School. John attended Crane Tech High School where he played football and graduated in 1950.

John met Millie after high school. They were married September 4, 1955 in Chicago. John was drafted shortly after they were married and was on active duty from 1956 to 1958. He attended mechanics training while in the service and worked in the motorpool. He would often recount stories of his time at Fort Carson, CO, especially when there was a snow storm on the horizon as he experienced a blizzard that resulted in 80 inches of snow during his time there.

When John returned to Chicago, time was spent living life while enjoying his hobbies of dancing, playing cards and working on cars. As the years went by and their family grew, John and Millie eventually moved to Melrose Park to raise their family. John’s strong work ethic kicked in as needed and he was often found to be working two or three jobs if needed to help take care of their seven children. When he was home, John could be found working on the family cars or helping the neighbors. One of the favorite family memories are the summer trips to Great America when everyone could spend the day together.

Sundays became the day that Dad cooked dinner over the years most famously, his red gravy and pasta. Ravioli was the special treat for the holidays. John and the family lost Millie in 1984 but over the years went on to find a new normal while keeping with Sunday pasta days. John kept busy with the youngest kids’ activities, enjoying his new grand-daughter, and spending time with friends.

In the fall of 1988, John met Celia when she started working at the company next door to where he worked. They went on their first date September 17, 1988 and were wed June 11, 1989. Celia and her teenage daughter Debbie moved into the family home in Melrose Park with John and his four youngest adult children. In June of 1994, John retired from his long-time job of truck driver for a local delivery company. He filled his time with enjoying movies he had missed over the years, wood projects such as making banana trees, and spending time with his grandchildren. In 1996, John and Celia moved to a ranch home in Lombard giving John a new selection of projects to choose from each day.

John’s interest in vehicles wasn’t just limited to cars but also included airplanes and trains. He was very interested in learning how the mechanics of the vehicles worked and would pick up books that explained the different fighter jet technology or steam engines. While Gunsmoke and Bonanza were favorites, he could often be found watching histories of the World Wars or the railroad in America. Over the years he created a large double decker model train scene that he loved to show the grand kids when they came over. He would spend hours in his workshop painting popsicle sticks for fences or adding people to the train station. His most favored train cars probably are the Burlington Northern Engine that pulls the air craft carrier and the Burlington Northern freight car with freight he loaded himself. He worked for Burlington Northern for several years and had fond memories of his time and coworkers there.

While dementia and Parkinson’s took their toll, John will be remembered by many for his ready smile, kindness, and helping hand. Everyone was always welcome to a seat at the table, a drink, and a deck of cards for a game of Solitaire.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research ( or Turning Pointe Autism Foundation in Naperville ( would be appreciated.

Visit or call 888-629-0094 for more information.


7 Comments so far ↓

  1. Mary Dizonno says:

    I Love you Dad❤

  2. Nancy Bane says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your husband. I am so sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Nancy Bane

  3. Tracy Sweetland says:

    I am so sorry….. my thoughts and prayers are with you and family.

  4. Matthew King says:

    In ’68, it was both my wife Rita and my good fortune, to become neighbors of the Dizonno’s. Our Two families became great friends and remain so, to this day.
    John was the most devout and truly caring person, we’ve had as a friend.

    Please bless him God.
    Matt & Rita King

  5. Gail Smith says:

    Praying for you and your family. I welcomed the opportunity to know John.

  6. Bonnie Stephenson says:

    Johnny worked for Burlington Northern Air Freight on the day they opened for business as did I.
    He personified the word Gentleman! His work ethic was exemplary and I was honored to have known him!
    He will be missed by his loving wife, Celia, as well as all those who have had the pleasure of his acquaintance!
    God’s blessings to him and his family.
    May he Rest In Peace!
    My deepest sympathy,
    Bonnie Stephenson

  7. emma rabe says:

    I so sorry for your loss

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