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CHAMPAIGN — Ellen Manzella, 81, of Champaign passed away peacefully at home Friday (Jan. 10, 2020) at 9:15 in the morning.

She was born Jan. 14, 1938, to Italian immigrants Domenick and Virginia (Russotti) Castrataro, in Mansfield, Ohio. Ellen attended St. Peters Catholic schools before meeting the love of her life, Francesco “Frank” Manzella. Ellen and Frank were married on Aug. 27, 1956, in Chicago, where they remained until relocating to Champaign in 1959. She was preceded in death by Frank, her loving husband of 59 years.

She was also preceded in death by her parents; a brother, Patsy Castrataro; and a sister, Mary Castrataro, both of Mansfield, Ohio.

Survivors include two sons, Joseph (Nicoletta) and John Manzella, and one daughter, Mary Manzella Racz, all of Champaign. Ellen was dearly loved by all her grandchildren, Joshua, Jake (Emily), Caleb, Angelina, Rachel and Sarah Manzella and Vincent Racz. Also surviving is one brother, Thomas (Shirley) Castrataro of Mansfield, Ohio.

Ellen was a homemaker taking care of the children, as well as nieces and nephews, while Frank and his sibling business partners ran a number of local Italian restaurants. Once the children were all off to school, she was there to lend a helping hand, doing whatever was needed to assist in business operations. In her free time, Ellen could be found reading magazines, watching her favorite programs on television and listening to music. Ellen also had the gift of gab as she was often found talking to customers in the family business and was a stranger to no one. She enjoyed meeting people and was a kindhearted, loving woman who was adored by all who were blessed to have known her. She was very proud of all her children and loved her family immensely. 

Ellen was a member of St. Matthew Parish. Funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, at St. Matthew's. Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. in the church’s Feeney Hall.

Morgan Memorial Home, Savoy, is handling arrangements (