Rosanna Glueckert, who helped run Glueckert Funeral Home in Arlington Heights, dead at 85
The funeral home has handled arrangements for thousands, including Arlington International Racecourse figures like trainer Ernie Poulos and jockey R.L. “Bobby” Baird.
When Rosanna Glueckert organized a pre-prom party at her home or a Christmas brunch after midnight mass, neighborhood kids knew they’d get a warm welcome and a great meal.
“She’d always throw in her lasagna,” which she learned to make from her Naples-born Italian mother, according to her son John.
On Fridays during Lent, she brought homemade pepper-and-egg sandwiches to Glueckert Funeral Home in Arlington Heights.
She helped with housekeeping and greeted visitors at the funeral home, which has been operated by the Glueckert family since 1970.
“When they got busy, she would be down at the funeral home,” her son said.
Mrs. Glueckert, 85, of Arlington Heights, died Oct. 25 at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, he said.
Young Rosanna grew up in Berwyn and, for a time, River Forest. She was the daughter of Cecilia and Pat Airdo. Her father, also an Italian immigrant, was a commercial property owner and manager, her son said.
During summers, she enjoying traveling to Waukegan to attend the Hull House camp at the old Bowen Country Club.
After Trinity High School, she studied at Northern Illinois University, where she made lifelong friends in her sorority, Kappa Delta.
“My grandfather was big on going to college,” her son said. “She was the first one in her family to go to college.”
At Northern, she met John Glueckert. They were married in 1958 at St. Leonard’s Catholic Church in Berwyn and celebrated with a banquet at the Oak Park Arms hotel, followed by a two-week honeymoon in Miami Beach.
Over the years, the Glueckert family handled funeral arrangements for thousands, including Arlington International Racecourse figures like trainer Ernie Poulos and jockey R.L. “Bobby” Baird, who rode at Arlington and in the Kentucky Derby.
“For someone who didn’t have a 9-to-5 job, she was someone who worked a lot,” her son said. “She enjoyed being with other people and being part of a good organization that did worthwhile things like the Knights of Columbus Holy Rosary Council, the Ladies Auxiliary.”
Mrs. Glueckert also helped raise money for the Chicago Maternity Center, a West Side program with medical professionals who cared for thousands of expectant mothers and delivered their babies in home births.
She did Little League scoring and served in the PTA at Greenbrier Elementary School and the booster club at the old Arlington High School. She volunteered in a snack shop at Northwest Community Hospital and ran an Italian ice booth for Arlington Heights’ Frontier Days.
Mrs. Glueckert liked to bowl and played in the St. James Women’s Golf League.
A gifted crafter, she set a beautiful table at Christmas.
“If she saw something at an art or a craft fair, she’d go home and replicate it or make it better,” her son said. “Wreaths, ornaments; she’d sew the place settings. Everything was always like a first-rate restaurant. You’d come in, and there’d be rings around the napkins, all the silverware.”
Her husband died in 2017. In addition to her son John, Mrs. Glueckert is survived by her daughters Mary Cecilia “Marcie” Glueckert-Heidkamp and Jacqueline Glueckert, her brother Vincent Airdo and four grandchildren.
She enjoyed playing buffalo-themed slot machines when she and her husband visited their condo in Las Vegas. At her wake at Glueckert Funeral Home, her son said, “We had the florist do a slot machine-themed floral arrangement with her buffalo machine.”