Mary N. (Gallo) Iaquinta, 95, died peacefully after a lengthy illness at Brookdale Pleasant Prairie, WI on October 21, 2016, 22 days short of her 96th birthday.
She was born in Kenosha, Wis., on November 13, 1920, to the late Felice and Tommasina (Torcaso) Gallo. She was graduated with academic honors from Kenosha High School in June 1939. On October 12, 1940, she married Anthony Sam Iaquinta, who died October 8, 2005, in Kenosha. She was a lifelong Kenosha resident.
She volunteered to teach in a literacy program and led a Great Books discussion group for the Kenosha Public Library for two years. Her activities expressed her beliefs in service to others and in education as the antidote to poverty and fear. She read all the R.M. Hutchins Great Books of the Western World and kept journals of her thoughts. She was a lifelong member of the Italian American Society Ladies Auxiliary and died an Active Honorary Member of 75 years standing.
She wrote many poems, serious and playful, and short stories of her life in Kenosha and about her extended family to preserve their history. She researched and authored detailed histories of her Gallo and Iaquinta relatives including stories transcribed from interviews with those still living in mid-20th Century.
Her son, Leonard P. Iaquinta who survives her, published her two family histories and a book of her poems and short stories and distributed them to relatives, friends and pertinent libraries.
Adept at the popular complete-the-jingle contests of the 1950s and 1960s, she won many prizes. She also competed with the family on a TV quiz show on WGN-TV and just missed the top prize. She won a 54-volume set of the Great Books through submitting a question to a Great Books newspaper column in the Kenosha News.
She wrote that a neighbor was the greatest influence on her life. He was "Old Man" Fred Eck, a Russian immigrant who owned several houses in the old Bain School neighborhood. He was mocked by peers for going to classes at the vocational school to learn building trades to repair his properties. Mr. Eck inspired her to a lifelong pursuit of learning.
"He bequeathed no riches," she wrote, "except to doubt all things; to tolerate all ideas; to love all people; to consider all dissenting views."
Mary is also survived by a brother, Felix (Florence) Gallo of Kenosha; and sisters-in-law, Barbara Rankin of Kenosha, and Marcia White of Manassas, Va. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends whose company she treasured.
Preceding her in death were brothers, Raymond (Mundy) Gallo, Leo Gallo; sisters Amelia "Amy" Gallo DeMarco, and Rafaela "Edith" Gallo. Also, her beloved childhood pet cat, Patrick.
Mary was buried following private services at Bruch Funeral Home in the Iaquinta family plot at St. George Cemetery on October 25, 2016.
Her family appreciated the compassionate and expert care provided by A.G. Durrani, M.D., Brookdale Pleasant Prairie, Hospice Alliance, and Right at Home, Inc.
Memorials in lieu of flowers are gratefully appreciated for the Philosophy Scholarship in her name at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Foundation, Inc., 900 Wood Road, P.O. Box 2000, Kenosha, WI 53141-2000; and to the Hospice Alliance Foundation, Inc., 10220 Prairie Ridge Blvd., Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158.
Family and friends are invited to a Memorial Celebration of Life on Saturday, November 26, at 11 a.m. at the Italian American Club, 2217 52nd St., Kenosha.