Betty Calzia Rosalini age 88 of Highwood passed away peacefully at her home on Wednesday, Sept. 16. She was born July 28, 1927 in the tiny, former coal-mining town of Mark, Illinois, to the union of Joseph and Angelina (Perrero) Calzia.
The family moved north and became lifelong residents of Highwood. Betty attended Oak Terrace grade school and Highland Park High School (Class of ’45). As a teenager she was an enthusiastic Cubs fan, with her
childhood friend, Eileen (Mussatto) Hemmeter, became a Milwaukee
Braves devotee, and one day scored an autograph from Cardinals Hall of
Famer, Stan Musial. Her earliest employment was as an operator for Bell
Telephone and a retail clerk at Jewels of Lake Forest, down the street from
the Sinclair gas station her father managed, and where Adlai Stevenson
would warm his toes on winter mornings along his way to the train station.
During WWII, she participated in the Highwood chapter of the USO.
Following the War, and with her husband, Adolph (“Doc”) Rosalini, she
raised three surviving children, Dugan, Larry and Jeanine, while working
part-time as a waitress at Green Acres County Club, Hans’s Bavarian
Lodge and the Villa Venice, where she once, unknowingly, served as a
‘food tester’ for Frank Sinatra.
As her children attended high school and college, Betty took evening community college courses to begin a 35-year career as a residential real-estate broker, eventually being elected president of Chicagoland Women in Real Estate. Betty was known for helping individuals and families buy and sell ‘homes’, not just houses. In addition to never meeting a meal she didn’t enjoy (especially when someone else made it), Betty had a lifelong love of opera, languages and travel. She often attended the Lyric Opera and enrolled in Italian language courses offered by Loyola University, learned German and French via educational television, and even picked up a bit of Yiddish taught at the Highland Park Senior Center, where she was a volunteer teacher of ‘Rules of the Road’ (without disclosing her lead-foot reputation behind the wheel of her ’92 Caddy that Frank Pasquesi somehow kept roadworthy).
She became a member of the Highwood Italian Women’s Prosperity Club, and with her colleagues in the real-estate world, Betty traveled to dozens of U.S. cities and states, including Hawaii, and overseas to London, Paris, Venice, Rome and Florence, as well as Villa Guardia, Villa Viani and several other Italian villages of her ancestors. Following her recovery from a 13-hour brain surgery in 2006, and with the assistance of incredibly devoted and equally fun-loving caregivers, Betty was able to continue to enjoy ‘road trips’, which included frequent visits to the Botanic Garden and Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo; performances of comedian Jackie Mason and at Ravinia Festival, Drury Lane and Lincolnshire theaters; the weekly Highwood Farmer’s Market; her 100-year-old Aunt Violet and cousins in the Mark/Spring Valley/Peru and Chillicothe, Illinois areas; and to that fabulous all-beef hotdog stand in the Lake Forest Costco and the Brat Stop in Kenosha where she’d also down a mug of her favorite dark beer. Betty will be remembered for her unceasing optimism, enthusiasm and
curiosity—her joyful willingness to try anything at least once—and making
a friend wherever she went.
Private internment. Contributions to American Cancer Society and Chicago Botanic Garden.