Michele Lollino passed away peacefully on the evening of December 18th like he had lived; surrounded by his loving family. Michele spent 89 years on this earth as a creator, hard worker, thinker and was one incredibly memorable person. In the second half of his life, he adopted the faith of the Jehovah's Witnesses and gave his life to it. He believed in Jehovah, the creator God, and that as his faithful servant, he should strive to imitate him. Michele walked in God's path by always creating with his heart and his hands.
Michele wasn't into following a recipe for cooking or for being very teachable. But that didn't stop him from creating some of the most beautiful things - his own way. He had the uncanny ability to look at how something was put together, break it down and deduce how it worked. Then put it back together in his own way... improving its design, beauty and function. With basic tools he crafted beautiful and functional furniture out of wood. He was an accomplished welder in Italy, making ornate steel fences for or minimalist steel bed frames. I remember as a young boy, watching my nonno and papa work together on finishing our basement. Nothing was off limits and even the most minor details were discussed for hours. Despite some explosive arguments, they succeeded and did an incredible job.
Michele was a creative chef and loved nothing more than enjoying a big meal with family. My favorite nights were panzerotti nights. Nonno would spend all day making the perfect panzerotti with tomato, cheese and sometimes olives and as a whole family would enjoy them together. With the extra dough, he would make little plain panzerotti and coated them with sugar for the kids - they were the best! When he could, he would use produce he had grown in his own massive backyard garden. That is of course if his grandchildren hadn't picked it clean by then, despite his strong admonishments against touching anything in his garden!
Michele prided himself in thinking differently and was known as the "philosopher" by many, including me. Legend has it that by the end of a long stay in an Italian hospital, he had many "disciples" perched at the foot of his bed hanging on to his every word with wide eyes at the depth of his thoughts. Michele spoke his own brand of Italian... a little bit of Barese, a little bit Italian and a lot of mumbling. Maybe it was his way of seeing if you were really worthy of hearing his unique ideas. Some of my favorite conversations with my Nonno were telling him what I was learning in college and him working diligently to make me un-learn it because it was all wrong! I loved him for his ideas and his bravery in speaking his mind.
Most importantly, Michele created a beautiful family of five children with his surviving wife, Graziella. He is survived by three sons; Angelo, Nicola & Vito, and his daughter, Gina De Lauro. His oldest son and my papa, Francesco, passed away. He is survived by 11 grandchildren; Belinda, Luca, Bianca, Michael, Sara, Caleb, Tommy, Marco, Giana, Mathew, Gian Luca. He is also survived by nine great grandchildren. His family was his whole world and he worked remarkably hard to provide for them, sometimes working 90 hours a week to make sure everyone had enough to eat.
He will be missed by many and his memory will be eternal.
Memorial services will be held at the Elmwood Park Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses located at 7309 W Fullerton Ave, Elmwood Park IL 60707 at 6 PM on 12/26/2022. For those who would like to view the memorial services virtually, they are welcome to log into Zoom with the following information at the date and time of memorial;
Meeting ID: 84516148756