Robert Elli, passed away on May 17, 2023, at the age of 95. Born on October 1, 1927, in Chicago, Illinois, he was the son of Matthew Elli and Mary Elli (nee Piskac). Robert was the beloved husband of Violet Elli (nee Dargis), and together they shared a lifetime of love and companionship.
At the tender age of 15, Robert displayed extraordinary bravery by enlisting in World War II as an aerial gunner near the Midway Islands, having lied about his age. His courage and dedication were evident even in his youth. After the war, he pursued his passion for teaching and became an elementary art teacher, dedicating over 35 years of his life to District 111. Robert not only imparted knowledge to his students but also fought for the rights of teachers during the early 1970s. He was a bit of a troublemaker, organizing strikes and protests that eventually led to the establishment of the district's first teacher union. His efforts extended beyond his local community, as he collaborated with other teacher unions to form the Illinois Teacher's Union.
In his personal life, Robert found immense joy in raising a family of 12 remarkable children alongside his beloved wife, Violet. The family created lasting memories during summer camping trips across the United States, instilling a love for travel and exploration in the hearts of their children. Robert also actively contributed to organizations such as the Orland Historical Society, giving monthly tours of the John Humphrey House, the Town and Country Art League and the VFW, dedicating his time to meaningful pursuits.
Robert Elli will be remembered for his contagious joy, unwavering cheerfulness, and a sharp wit that endured until the very end. His presence lit up every room he entered, and his absence will be deeply felt by all who had the privilege of knowing him.
He is survived by his loving wife, Violet Elli (nee Dargis); his daughters, Gabrielle Valdivia (Michael), Angelique DeJulia (Joseph), and Nicolette Elli; his sons, Robert Elli, Derek Elli (fiancée Marysia), Joel Elli, Anton Elli, Shawn Elli, Chad Elli, Erin Elli, Brendan Elli (Amy), and Scott Elli; as well as his cherished grandchildren; Jeremy Minnick, Christine Minnick, Allison Shanabrook (Andy), Aaron Elli (Tamon), Giosue DeJulia, Alexandria Elli, Ryan Elli, Darin Elli, and Victor Elli.
Robert Elli was preceded in death by his parents, Matthew Elli and Mary Elli (nee Piskac), his brother, Richard Elli and granddaughter, Molly Elli. His memory will forever live on in the hearts of those who loved him. May his soul rest in eternal peace.