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Frances Marie (Sansone, Scroppo, Pavilonis) DiFilippo
Frances Marie (Sansone, Scroppo, Pavilonis) DiFilippo passed away on October 18, 2022, after a courageous decade-and-a-half battle with Alzheimer's. She is now raised on eagles' wings to shine like the sun again. Those who knew Fran before the disease know she is laughing, singing, and dancing through the pearly heaven gates to reunite with her late loved ones.
Frances had a zest for life that was impossible to replicate. She loved fiercely and cared deeply for everyone she met. She kept books of her typed writing, letters to nieces and nephews, prayers written for struggling friends, or family holidays. Fran loved to sing, often bragging about the opera vocal contest won at the age of 10. Her grandchildren will never forget her singing Silent Night as loud as she could at the end of every Christmas Eve service. Even as her memories faded, she would sing her favorite song Sorrento, or hum along to the songs played for her. Fran loved red. It was her staple to wear the bold color on her lips and nails every day and everywhere. She loved ballroom dancing and often tried to teach her grandsons the waltz, cha cha, or samba. She never missed the opportunity to show off her moves on the dance floor at a wedding. Fran always dressed to the nines, often with jewels and furs. She passionately believed that the best wine was Beringer White Zinfandel (served with precisely three ice cubes) and always had it on hand to share with her obliging guests.
She is survived by her beloved daughter and loyal caretaker of the past 15 years, Marie (Scroppo) Freidag. Even when she forgot her name or lost her words, she still was comforted by her presence, even in her final hours. She is also survived by her son-in-law Jim Freidag, daughter-in-law Lynne Scroppo and five grandchildren: Kristina (Jeff) Nemetz, Richard (Rita) Freidag, Kurtis (Maggie) Freidag, Samuel "Sammy" Scroppo, and Randy Scroppo. In addition, she lived to meet her eight great-grandchildren: Malina, Madelyn, Wyatt, Sophia, Lukas, Jack, Elliot, and James. Many of them enjoyed visiting Grandma Fran, holding her hand, reading her stories, and caring for her as they grew up and she slowly succumbed to the disease.
Frances was born October 2, 1936, to Salvatore and Maime (LoCoco) Sansone in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood. She was the eleventh of seventeen children. Fran joked it was easier to say, "she was sixth from the bottom." She would smile and sing the names of her siblings as if it were a song, always youngest to oldest: Joey, Rosie (Borik), Leo, Cel (Dorris), Margie (Judge), Frannie, Dorothy (Slavik), Rita (Karmas) Jimmy, Geri (Pirelli), Theresa (Hensler), Maryann (Garbauski), Sal, Josephine (Vitale), Rosie, Alice (Dorchek), and Dominic.
She attended the Jones Commercial Secretarial School after the eighth grade, becoming a full-time secretary at 15. In 1954 she wed Samuel Scroppo, and they moved to the south side of the city, where she resided for almost 60 years. She ran S&T Motors Trucking alongside her husband for decades, even while raising a family. Fran gave birth to three children: Phillip, Marie, and Bobby (Robert). She mourned the loss of her first son at three-weeks old in 1955 and recently laid her youngest son Bobby to rest in 2020.
Frances was dedicated to her church St. Mary Star of the Sea, for over 50 years, where she was a eucharistic minister and usher, led a renew group, and assisted with many fundraisers for those in need. A strong woman of faith, she cared for all her family and friends in sickness and health. Fran was generous with her time and money. She was always giving to others when asked. There was always a young couple or relative living upstairs rent-free in the apartment of her Chicago bungalow. She welcomed all to her home, especially on Sundays, for her pasta dinners. The Sansone and Scroppo families and the extended family she inherited over the years attended many parties in her basement.
She was left widowed at the early age of 48. Through the Widowed Stars group at St. Mary Star of the Sea, she met Pete Pavilonis, whom she wed in 1991. They spent every Friday night dancing together at the Willowbrook ballroom with their friends. Fran stood by Pete's side during his cancer diagnosis and was his faithful caregiver and nurse for the last months of his life. She was left widowed for the second time in 1999. A few years later, she married Vito DiFilippo, whom she also cared for until his death in 2009. Even as a wife, caregiver, and active volunteer, she always made time for God, her children, and her grandchildren. She rarely missed church, a family reunion, a birthday, the opportunity to babysit her grandchildren, or visit friends. She was an active member of the Lions Club and the Italian Catholic Federation.
Frances was preceded in death by her husbands: Sam, Pete, and Vito; her sons Phillip and Bobby; her siblings: Dominic, Alice, Rosie, Josephine, Sal, Maryann, Theresa, and Rita; and her loyal Boston terrier, Sweet Pea.
A visitation hour will be held at St. Mary Star of the Sea (6435 S. Kilbourn Ave., Chicago) on Tuesday, October 25, 2022, beginning at 9:30 am. After a memorial service at 10:30 am, the family will bring her to her final resting place at St. Mary's Cemetery in Evergreen Park.
The family would like to acknowledge her loving brothers and sisters who visited her often while in the memory care facilities for the last several years. Specifically, Rose Sansone-Borik and Cecilia Doris for their often-weekly visits, care, and support of their niece, Marie, as she cared for her mother with this devastating disease.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Tee it 4 ALZ foundation, where her grandson serves on the Board of Directors. The organization donates 100% of the funding raised to finding a cure for the disease. Each year, her family participates in their golf outing fundraiser as "Team Frances." Mail donations directly to Tee It 4 ALZ, Ltd., PO Box 3653, Peoria, IL 61612, or give online at teeit4alz.com/donate in her honor.
The family asks all who know Fran, her friends or family, to live life "more like Frances" from today forward. Find a local charity or church organization supporting those in need and donate time or money with great love and generosity. Also, remember to sing loud, dance often, laugh with those you love, never hesitate to wear red, and drink White Zin.