NORTHVILLE, Mich. – Surrounded by her loving family, a great lady, Audrey Mabel Eichelberger Tuttoilmondo, peacefully began the next stage of her journey on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, at 6:08 p.m.
She began her travels on Valentine's Day in 1926 in a farmhouse near Cissna Park, joining two older brothers. She grew up on the family farm near Dewey during the Great Depression and attended Spring Lake School - a one-room schoolhouse down the 1/4 mile lane and 1/2 mile down the road for 1st-8th grades surrounded by relatives and neighbors. She and her brothers often rode their horse to school and then Old Ripper would just head home on his own.
World War II had started by the time she graduated and she supported the war effort by working in Chicago in "Rosie the Riveter" style. It was on one of her train trips back and forth that she met a young soldier who was in training at Chanute Army Air Force Training Facility in Rantoul. A purloined watch and deliberate failing of a test by the soldier assured their continuing courtship. Upon his deployment to the Pacific Theater, she entered nursing training, leaving before graduation when they decided to marry.
They moved to Colorado, Millo's home, before beginning an odyssey that, after the birth of their daughter, led to homesteading in Alaska before it was a state, then on to Texas, to Colorado, where Millo learned carpentry, and on to Illinois, where their son was born. Millo polished his carpentry skills, and they moved back to Colorado, where he built his brother's house.
They finally settled in Illinois in 1955 to begin farming Audrey's family farm. Then came the life of farming - raising crops, hogs and 500 laying hens, as well as two children who attended Dewey and Fisher schools and graduated from college. The family spent much time with local relatives and, once a year, went to Colorado to visit Millo's family. After Millo became ill in 1976, Audrey and he did more traveling, welcomed their first grandchild and joined St. Malachy's Parish in Rantoul. After Millo's passing, Audrey continued farming, in partnership with her brother Norman.
She was active in her parish as an area leader and volunteer. Besides farming and maintaining her home (she was quite talented mechanically), she was involved in card and lunch groups, reading, playing bingo and, also, traveled to Europe with her church.
She was blessed with three wonderful grandchildren, a stepgranddaughter and six great-grandchildren who dearly loved their "Gramma Audie." She attended their high school and college graduations and all of their weddings. She spent much time in Michigan with her daughter and family as well as in Minnesota with her son and family.
Health issues caused her to finally leave the family farm and move to Northville, Mich., where she spent her last two years at Allen Terrace, where she enjoyed and appreciated the kindness and friendliness of her neighbors. She spent much time with her family here and enjoyed traveling, spending time at Lake Columbia near Brooklyn, Mich., where relatives and friends came for get-togethers. This kind, caring and giving woman lived a full life of 86 years, and is now with the Lord.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Camillo Tuttoilmondo; her parents, Charlotte and John Eichelberger; brothers, Norman and Raymond. She leaves behind her son, Alan (Carol) Tuttoilmondo; daughter, Lynne (William) Elsesser; grandsons, Joel (Sarah) Elsesser and James (Elizabeth) Elsesser; granddaughter, Laura (Marty) Robbins; a stepgranddaughter, Emily Rose; and six beloved great-grandchildren, Hadley, Zachary and Avery Elsesser and Ethan, Andrew and Caleb Elsesser.
Audrey will be honored at a Celebration of Life at 11 a.m. Nov. 17 at St. Malachy's Catholic Church in Rantoul and will be interred beside her husband in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Memorials may be made to St. Malachy's School.