Filomena Magrone will celebrate her 100th birthday this month surrounded by family and friends.
She was born on May 14, 1917, in Carbonara, Bari, Puglia, to Nicola and Cecilia Muschio. In 1934, Gaetano Magrone began rounding up friends who could play musical instruments and showing up in front of her house to serenade her. They were married the next year.
The couple moved to Chicago in 1966, eventually settling in Wood Dale. Gaetano was a baker by trade and Filomena was an exceptional cook, even working for a while jarring fruit and other food.
They raised a family of 11 — Lucia, Donata, Paolo, Cecilia, Domenico, Carmela, Caterina, Nicoletta, Felicia, Vito and Angela — who gave them 24 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. Filomena was active in the daily lives of her grandchildren, babysitting many of them while their parents were at work.
Though they lived the rest of their lives in the Chicago area, the couple returned to Italy from time to time for extended stays. Gaetano lived a long and healthy life, passing away in 2003.
Filomena remains remarkably active for a centenarian, attending family events outside of the home and visiting Florida as recently as last year.