Celebrating the life of Nerio Joseph Calgaro
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Nerio grew up in the Roseland neighborhood on the south side of Chicago where he graduated from Mendel Catholic High School. Following graduation, he enlisted in the United States Air Force where he proudly served from 1963-1967 as a radio instructor during the Vietnam War. It was during that time while home on leave that he met the love of his life, Sandra Smith. They were married on October 21, 1967.
Following his military service, Nerio attended Illinois State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in physics. He was named as the first ever Planetarium Director at ISU in 1971 and held that position until 1974. He went on to work for Illinois Bell until 1985, at which time he made what he considered to be one of the best decisions of his life and left corporate America to pursue his true passion...a career in education. He returned to Illinois State University to earn his Master's Degree in education and went on to enjoy a twenty-year career as a teacher of math and physics at Bartonville Grade School, Illinois Central College, and East Peoria Community High School until his retirement in 2007. During that time, he volunteered with the EPCH chapter of the alcohol, tobacco and drug-use prevention program Operation Snowball. He also fulfilled a life-long dream in 2005 of commissioning and overseeing the construction of a telescope observatory on the high school campus for all students to use.
Nerio always had his eye to the skies. He earned his private pilot's license and was seldom happier than when he could go up for an afternoon of flying in an open cockpit Stearman biplane. Whether it was serving as the chair of the Peoria Astronomical Society education committee, being honored by the Space Foundation and NASA as a national Teacher Liaison, or just setting up his own telescope in his driveway in order to show his grandkids the rings around Saturn...he loved to share his passion for exploration of the cosmos with anyone and everyone.
His greatest passions, though, were for his roles as a husband, father, and grandfather. His best friend in the world was also the love of his life. Together, they created a home full of love, music, laughter, and encouragement which had a positive impact on all who entered. Nerio is survived by his loving wife Sandra Calgaro of Peoria, IL; his two sons, Joseph (Carrie) Calgaro of Elk Grove, CA, and Scott (Virginia) Calgaro of Rockford, IL: and his five grandchildren, Stephen, Emily, Jacob, Joshua, and Sarah. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Richard Calgaro, and his sister Dolores Cerutti.
'Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings' - John Gillespie Magee Jr.
Cremation has been accorded and a private family celebration of life will be held.
The Cremation Society of Mid-Illinois Co. Pekin/Peoria is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be made at csmico.com
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