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Morizzo Funeral Home

MorizzoWalk into Tony Morizzo’s new business in Hoffman Estates, and you’ll encounter abundant sunlight flooding an impeccably appointed lobby as a glass-enclosed fireplace blazes away. It’s the kind of setting you might mistake for an inviting-yet-dignified inn, unless you read the sign out front.

The Morizzo Funeral Home is a true milestone for Tony, representing the life’s work of a man who has built a family business based on four simple-yet-solid cornerstones: family, friendship, relationships and giving back. His brother Dan and son Ross join him in the third-generation enterprise.

Morizzo’s new facility opened in November after 11 months of construction, and it’s a stunner. The chapel has a total capacity of 250 that can be split into three rooms — Tranquility, Serenity and Reflection — and the entire interior has a lightness you don’t always encounter in a funeral home.

“We’d never built a facility from the ground up, and everything with the building was done with friends,” says Tony, whose father (also Daniel) started the business in 1938. “When we had our grand opening, Fr. Richard LaPata [former president of Fenwick High School in Oak Park] blessed the building. When we did the ribbon-cutting with the mayor’s office, we brought up everyone who helped out.”

Morizzo traces his Italian lineage on his father’s side to Potenza. (His mother was of German lineage.) Just 14 when his father passed away, he found himself jumping right into the family business, then located not far from Harrison Street and Western Avenue.

“I grew up very quickly, which was not a bad thing,” Morizzo recalls. “My dad taught us to give back to the community, and that served us well. We’ve never forgotten our roots.”

Morizzo has been lauded by the Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia as Man of the Year, and serves so many boards and causes, it’s a wonder he finds time to grow a successful business. A partial list includes the Italian American Chamber of Commerce, Italian American Executives of Transportation, Columbian Club of Chicago and the Shriners.

He’s done all this and more, inspiring a young son to follow in his footsteps. Ross Morizzo has brought modern flourishes to the funeral home, including a computerized message board in the foyer and an electronic sign-in system that alphabetizes thank you cards for guests at the touch of a button. “He obviously knows the business inside and out, and I’m able to bring the technology side to it,” Ross says.

As for the father, he couldn’t be prouder that his son, a 2005 Indiana University graduate, left a fledgling career in commercial real estate to work by his side. “One of the most rewarding things about having this building is working with my son every day,” he says proudly.

Hearing such warm back-and-forth between father and son casts the Morizzo motto — “honoring the family and cherishing memory” — in a light as bright as the sunlit lobby. “This is what it’s all about,” Tony says. “When we had our opening and ribbon-cutting, we were hoping to get 100 people, and 500 showed up. It was a good sign.”

Morizzo Funeral Home
2550 Hassell Road
Hoffman Estates, Ill. 60169
847-752-6444
www.morizzofuneralhome.com

About Lou Carlozo

A former longtime staff writer, editor and columnist for the Chicago Tribune, Lou Carlozo is a personal finance contributor to Reuters and the proud writer of Fra Noi’s Lou&A column, which spotlights important Italian Americans. He is currently studying for his master’s degree at National-Louis University, where he teaches journalism and writing on the graduate school level. He also writes for the Tribune Content Agency and a variety of other freelance outlets including DealNews, Money Under 30 and Yesware. He lives in the North Center neighborhood of Chicago with his wife of more than 17 years, Amy (a hospice chaplain), and two children.