Leona Sacco (1921-2021) sang opera into her late nineties


Leona Elizabeth Sacco (nee Upton) passed away peacefully on November 26, 2021 at her son David’s home in Roscoe, Illinois, at the age of 100. Born on October 2, 1921, in Chicago IL. she was the first born child of Anna Tarnowski and William Upton. Later she moved to River Grove IL, where she lived for nearly 60 years, in the home where she raised her children and eventually cared for her ailing husband. 

In her early working years, “Lee,” as she was affectionately called, was employed in the clerical department at Excelsior Tool & Die Company in Chicago during World War II. Later she worked at Lee Well Printing in Franklin Park IL and Talman Bank in Chicago. She met the love of her life, Anthony Sacco, while dancing at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. She and “Tony” were married for 45 years until his death in 1992. They raised four children: Anthony (Susan) Sacco Jr., Paul (Connie) Sacco, Mary Ann Sacco and David (Karie) Sacco. Over the years her family grew to eight grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren. 

She loved to play piano and sing. As a young girl in the city, she would walk alone great distances in order to attend her piano lessons. She later became a classical pianist and opera singer. She sang arias in three different languages and continued singing them into her late 90’s. She occasionally performed at the Chicago Opera House. She loved to read about history and politics. She loved many things, but most of all she loved being a mother and being with her children.

Leona is predeceased by her husband, Anthony Sacco, her brother John “Buddy” Upton, her mother Anna Upton, and her father William Upton, all of Chicago, Illinois.

It is anticipated there will be a service where her ashes will be interred at the burial site next to her husband Tony at Mount Emblem Cemetery in Elmhurst IL. A date for the burial service has not yet been determined.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her honor to Lakota Children’s Enrichment.

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