Dr. John L. Gagliardi
Dr. John L. Gagliardi, age 90, passed away on Monday, December 18, 2017. Born on August 26, 1927, in Kenosha, WI, he was the son of the late Pasquale and Maria (Aversa) Gagliardi. His immigrant parents gifted him not only with a rich Italian heritage, but also with the value of hard work and the importance of higher education.
After graduating from Kenosha High School in 1945, he enlisted in the United States Navy. Following World War II, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and then, Marquette University with a degree in dentistry. Immediately following this, he was called upon again to serve his country, this time as an officer in the United States Air Force during the Korean War.
It was while he was in Japan that he met the love of his life, Rita Grusczynski. They were married on June 11, 1955, and settled in Kenosha, where John began his family dental practice. In the early sixties, he returned to Marquette University to pursue a specialty degree in Pedodontia. He then limited his dental practice to children and the handicapped. He loved his profession and the families that he cared for, and they loved him.
John was involved in several dental societies including the Kenosha County Dental Society, the Wisconsin Dental Association, and the American Dental Association. He also held the office of president for the Wisconsin Pedodontic Society, and was a member of the American Academy of Dentistry for Children. In addition to these, he was on the board for Catholic Services, a member of the American Italian Society, the Italian Business Men’s Association, the Serra Club, and the Elks Club. Attending St. Mary’s Catholic Church, he served as the first president of its parish council.
John’s interests ranged from fishing to golf to doing projects around his home. Jazz music was a special love of his from early on. He and Rita also had close friends that they spent time with both here and at their home in Florida. Yet, it was John’s commitment to his family that undergirded all that he did. Nothing and no one was more important to him than them.
He is survived by his four children, Mary Jo (Carlo) Filippelli, John (Ruth), Thomas (Debra), and Philip (Bernadette) Gagliardi; as well as his grandchildren, Thomas, Hope, Samuel, Nathan, Lydia, Benjamin, Adam, Grant, and Emma; nine great-grandchildren; his brother, Frank Gagliardi; and his sisters, Laura (Robert) Chiapetta and Rachel (Robert) Haining.
In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his wife, an infant daughter, and his brother, Jerry Gagliardi.
A brief prayer service will be held on Friday, December 22nd, at Proko Funeral Home at 9:30 a.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 7400-39th Avenue, on Friday at 10:00 a.m. Entombment with full military honors will follow at All Saints Mausoleum. Visitation will be held at Proko Funeral Home on Thursday, December 21st, from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Memorials can be made out to Hospice Alliance.
Proko Funeral Home & Crematory
Kenosha, WI 53144
Phone: (262) 654-3533
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