Pauline A. VoltaggioJanuary 17, 1922 ~ April 14, 2017 (age 95)
“Quite frankly the best mother in the world,” Pauline Annabel Anderson Voltaggio, passed away in the early hours of Good Friday, April 14 . . . surrounded by the warmth and love of her family.
Born on January 17, 1922, in Eugene, Oregon to Helen and Roy Anderson, Pauline was the fourth of six children. The family moved cross-country by train to Chicago in 1929, where they took up residence during the height of the Depression and remained until after World War II.
Pauline graduated from The Starrett School for Girls and Wilson Junior College, and attended the University of Akron before marrying Lt. Frank Voltaggio, Jr. on November 24, 1943 in Dayton, Ohio. While Frank served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in both the European and Paciﬁc theaters, Pauline returned home to Chicago. As did so many of the Greatest Generation, she committed to the war effort, working at the Pullman Standard Car Manufacturing Company as a welder of PT boats, escort vessels and landing craft.
At the end of the war, Frank continued what was to become a 20-year career in the U.S. Air Force, with Pauline by his side. They raised four of their children while trekking around the world from post-war Japan to Brussels, Belgium . . . settling in Glen Ellyn in late 1961 after Frank’s retirement from the military.
In 1962, they bought what has lovingly become known as the Italian Embassy on Merton Avenue, where their ﬁfth child was born in 1964, and where Pauline continued to live until her death.
Pauline was ﬁrst and foremost, a mother . . . not only to her ﬁve children, but to many of their friends as well . . . prompting one “surrogate child” to christen her the “Seabiscuit of mothers in the Kentucky Derby of life.” Nothing gave her more pleasure than being matriarch of her close-knit family . . . The Italian Waltons . . . to whom she was as deeply devoted as they were, in turn, to her.
In the early 1970s, with her youngest child off to school, Pauline embarked on a successful career in real estate where she was associated with Seery & Keim, Inc. in Glen Ellyn for over 25 years. Upon retiring her license in 1997, she honed her skills as an avid gardener . . . whiling away endless hours communing with and tending to her other “babies,” the cherished plants and ﬂowers in her yard, which were a never-ending source of joy.
An enthusiastic bowler for over 40 years, Pauline spent every Monday morning until the age of 89 with the Community Nursing Service league. A lifelong lover of opera, she enjoyed many hours with her favorite soprano, Maria Callas!
She was also an accomplished seamstress and homemaker for whom no project was too daunting for her to tackle . . . from wallpapering, upholstering and painting to knocking out walls and laying patio bricks!! Where there was a will . . . there was a way in her book!! She wasn’t known as Pistol Pauline for nothing!!!!
Preceded in death by Frank, her husband of 47 years, Pauline is survived by her children Mary Ellen Voltaggio-Walksler (Bernard), Kathryn Clementi (Vincent), Thomas (Vicky), Gilbert and Michele Voltaggio; grandchildren Bryan (Sarah), Vincent and Anne Marie Clementi, Olivia, Christina, Vanessa and Elysia Voltaggio; great-grandchild Kylie Clementi.
The enormous hole that she leaves in the hearts of her family is immeasurable . . . but the legacy of all that she was and her boundless capacity for love will remain with each one forever and always. Following a private burial at Forest Hill Cemetery in Glen Ellyn, a memorial service celebrating her life is being planned. Details will be available through Leonard Memorial Funeral Home (630-469-0032). In lieu of ﬂowers, donations may be made to the Shriners Hospitals for Children.