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Joan M. Ottolino

Published December 08,2021

Obituary's Biography:

Joan M. Ottolino, age 86, a resident of Grayslake, passed away at home on Sunday, December 5, 2021. Joan was born on July 13, 1935 in Chicago to George and Frances Cervenka.  After losing both of her parents, she and her sister, Carol were raised by her aunt and uncle who owned Grass Lake Food Mart in Antioch.  In high school, she became very active in music, playing the clarinet, cheerleading and graduated with honors.  She attended Lake Forest College and went on to get her Master’s Degree in music.  She taught music and voice in Garden City, Michigan for 2 years and then returned to Illinois where she taught Choir and English at Grayslake Community High School for 28 years. For 33 years, she was the choir director/organist/pianist/canter at St. Gilbert Catholic Church in Grayslake. She played keyboard for Grayslake Scotsmen after Doc Falknor left.  Joan also played piano and organ at Prince of Peace Church in Lake Villa.  She enjoyed people and had a smile for everyone.

Joan is survived by her loving husband, Vic, whom she married on January 15, 1966 at St. Peter Catholic Church in Antioch; her niece, Joann (Rudy) Reidl; and her nephew, Terry Ottolino; and several other nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.  She was preceded in death by her parents and sister.

A funeral Mass will be held at St. Gilbert Catholic Church, 301 E. Belvidere Road, Grayslake, IL 60030 on Wednesday, December 15, 2021 at 10:00am. A visitation will be held at Strang Funeral Chapel, 410 E. Belvidere Road, Grayslake, IL 60030 on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 from 4:00pm until 8:00pm. Interment will be held at Ascension Catholic Cemetery in Libertyville, IL. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association or a charity of your choice.  For more information, please call (847) 223-8122. To view Joan’s funeral Mass please click the link below:


13 replies on “Joan M. Ottolino”

  1. I am surprised the obit didn’t mention her being a choir teacher at Grayslake Community High School; I was there from 1974 to 1978; I know she was there before that. She was a very good teacher; I really enjoyed her the four years I had her; she really encouraged a person to do their best. Mrs Ottolino was full of energy and it was contagious! Rest in peace, you will be missed!

  2. Mrs Ottolino was a excellent English teacher, and choir director. Her warm smile made you want to do your best! I always felt she really cared for me. She had Jesus than, and now she is with Jesus. She made a difference in Grayslake high school. 1974/1978

  3. So many wonderful thoughts and memories of special times together, they will be forever cherished. Rest in peace.

  4. Mrs O will be missed. I just saw her 2yrs ago at a couple events..we talked alto and reminisce about GCHS. She was so sweet. He smile was contagious!!!
    It was a very nice Obit. I didn’t realize how long she was at GCHS.
    RIP my friend, teacher & mentor!

  5. I shall miss my very dear friend of 75 years.. We shared many happy memories and times over the years. God be with you my friend and I know that you will be in heaven, if not there already.

  6. Mrs. O was the most caring, enthusiastic Teacher I had at GCHS. She was my English Teacher my Sophomore year 1973-74. She inspired me to do my best in her class. After a few years of marriage & family, I came upon Mrs.O as the Substitute-Organist at our Parish, Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Lake Villa. After Mass, I went to her and told her she was the largest influence in my life, as she was. I have never forgotten her. I saw her many times at my Church. She was an awesome lady. Rest In Peace Mrs.Ottolino

  7. Vic, my heart aches for you at this difficult time. She left memories as big as her smile. I remember her playing the organ and singing on Sundays at St. Gilbert’s. Then she was my favorite teacher at GCHS. Then when I started working in town and got to know you both it was a joy. You were the cutest couple of all time. May God Bless you and keep you close as you go through the grief of losing your cherished wife.

  8. Knew you from Grade School. You were one of my sister’s long time friends.
    We enjoyed a stay with you and Vic at Marco Island, even went to a retreat.
    Only the last couple of years, I would frequently see you and Vic at Church.
    Music was such an important part of your life and it showed. May you rest
    in peace.

  9. Vic, So sorry for your loss. Such fond memories of Joan and her family growing up at Grass Lake. Was so happy when she played and sang at my wedding. Praying for peace to you during this sad time. Patti

  10. My heart hurts! An amazing woman, passionate about music, inspirational to many and such a good friend! My parents adored you as much as I did, chaperones several of our events for swing choir. I will miss your random messages that bring a smile even on my worst days! You are much loved and will be missed so much. Mr. O~ sending you prayers of comfort and love ❤

  11. Joannie, you so inspired all of us here at Eagle Cay on Marco Island, Florida. Your smile and demeaner were as warm and as welcoming as the Florida sunshine and warmth. You will sorely be missed and as we gather, thoughts of you, your musical talents will always echo through our ears! We love you, my dear. R I P dearest one. Les and Deb

  12. Dear Vic, Felix and I did not know about Joan’s passing until last week. We are SO sorry, and offer you condolences and peace. I watched the video of her mass with Fr. Merold. Beautiful. She is with God; and closer than ever to you.
    Peace, Felix and Kathleen Cizewski

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