John (JC) Caltagirone passed out of this earthly realm to join the Angels in the outfield. He was 83 and is survived by his incredibly loving wife Katie, numerous extended family members, an uncountable, but growing, horde of children and grandchildren who adore him and were in turn adored, and a terrible dog named Killer. The stubborn old coot confounded us all and died peacefully in his sleep with a smirk on his face, not by doing one of the hundreds of things he should no longer have been doing, like driving. He lived and died on his own terms and was loved immensely.
JC was one of the few people lucky enough not to be defined by his accomplishments, but by his character. When JC walked into a room, he didn’t ask for your attention; he commanded it with a grizzled baritone voice that would have been at home on any Chicago street corner. He loved his family, golf, baseball, golf, jazz… and golf.
He lived many lives; as an Army private, a pizzeria owner, avid saxophone player, traveling salesman, President of a business college, appliance repairman, service manager, and entrepreneurial family starter. But his favorite job had to be golf course marshal. And to be sure—he did it all his way.
JC was a two-sport star at the University of Illinois where he attended on a music scholarship, and performed in local jazz clubs in his free time. He was a catcher on the baseball team and played fullback and linebacker on the football team. His claim to fame was standing in the way of Dick Butkus who was a freshman in JC’s last year. Sports remained an important part of his life all the way to the end as he was up past midnight watching a World Series game as one of his last acts. He happily lived long enough to see his beloved Cubs win the title in 2016.
Second to his love of sports, was his love for all types of music. Primarily a tenor saxophone player and baritone vocalist, he could play almost any instrument he picked up; drums, trumpet, and piano to name a few. However, he was not successful in learning the micro sax or ukulele, nor in his attempt to be the fourth of The Three Tenors.
Per his wishes, there will be no service. In lieu of flowers or donations, the family asks that you belt out a few renditions of “My Way” while sipping on a double gin and tonic and remember him in your own way.
The emptiness left in the lives of his loved ones will undoubtedly be filled with legendary stories that will only continue to grow.
You may send tributes to the Caltagirone family at www.townson-rose.com
Townson-Rose Funeral Home is in charge of all arrangements.
You may send tributes to the family at www.mem.com