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Former Mayor Ronald Oppedisano

Ronald Oppedisano

Ronald Oppedisano

This month we highlight the career of a very charismatic, highly respected and active Italian-American community leader: Ronald Oppedisano. A successful property appraiser, Oppedisano is also former elected official, revered and respected in that role, and a wonderful family man.

He’s the former president (mayor) of the Village of Norridge, Illinois in Cook County – the small community his parents moved to in 1961 after leaving the 4300 block of West Adams Street in Chicago.

Oppedisano began his public service career in 1991 as a member, and later chairman, of the Norridge Zoning Board of Appeals. He was appointed to serve as a village trustee in 1998, then elected overwhelmingly to that position in 1999, 2003, and 2007. As a village trustee, he served as chairman of the most important and impactful committees: economic development, streets, and information technology. Everyone in his community knows him as “Ronnie O” and the respect and affection he enjoys is obvious to all its residents.

In 2009, Oppedisano was elected to the office of Village President. As President, as a skilled public servant, he worked diligently to bring in many millions of dollars in grant money to the Village of Norridge, and to expand the Harlem-Irving Plaza (HIP). He also worked to formulate and adopt a new comprehensive plan for the village. In addition, he created the “Green Team” to expand environmental awareness and began the Norridge farmers’ markets. During his term, he also served on the executive committee of the West Central Municipal Conference.

Although he loved serving as mayor, he put reelection plans on hold due to health issues. After being diagnosed with leukemia, he underwent a successful bone marrow transplant at Loyola Medical Center in December of 2012. He is happy to say that he has been cancer free ever since, but needed isolation for several months to rebuild his immune system—making it virtually impossible for him to campaign for the 2013 municipal election. His bone marrow transplant story was recently profiled on ABC’s “Good Morning America” with Robin Roberts.

Besides his public service, Ron has enjoyed a successful career as a well-respected, credentialed real estate appraiser. After graduating with high academic accolades from Northeastern Illinois University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning and Environmental Studies, he went to work for Cook County Assessor Thomas C. Hynes. After beginning as a clerk, he worked his way up to various director and supervisory positions related to the mass appraisal of properties in Cook County. Eventually, he earned the significant (and hard to obtain) MAI designation from the Appraisal Institute and left the Cook County Assessor’s office. Many policies of that county office, which oversees two million real estate parcels, were formulated by Oppedisano and applied on a regular basis even today. In 1992, he founded Disano Appraisal Consultants, a firm that provides real estate services for all types of commercial and industrial properties in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Ron Oppedisano has always been proud to be an American of Italian ancestry. He was born to Norma and August (Gus) Oppedisano and his mother’s parents emigrated from Avellino, Italy. His father’s parents came from Calabria. His dad proudly served in World War II, earning a Bronze Star with an Oak Leaf Cluster and several Purple Hearts. After the war, Ron’s dad went to work as a truck driver for the Salerno Cookie Company. Sadly, he passed away when Ron was only 14. His mom (Norma Battisti) worked as a legal secretary for the highly respected real estate firm of DiMonte & Lizak, and was involved in many Italian American organizations. She served as president of the JCCIA (Joint Civic Community of Italian Americans) and ITAMVETS (Italian American War Veterans) Post #1 Women’s Auxiliary.

In 1982, Ron married the love of his life, Linda (Valentino), whose Italian roots are from Sora, Italy. Together, they have raised three wonderful, successful children: Tena (McCullough), a registered nurse, Lisa (Gannon), a registered sonographer, and Vincent, an attorney who attended The John Marshall Law School. He graduated with highest honors and served as editor of Marshall’s prestigious Law Review. Today he is an active member of the Justinian Society of Lawyers.

Vince Oppedisano says: “My dad has been the primary influence in my life. My decision to attend law school, and later to enter real estate law, is due in large part to him as a role model. I admire the fact that my dad treats everyone he meets with respect and dignity, and has lived his life in such a way that anyone who knows him would be proud to call him a friend. Sure, he is my father but also he has always been my friend – and mentor, cheerleader and motivator to strive to succeed and lead a Christian life.”

About Leonard F. Amari

Leonard F. Amari is a founding, co-managing partner of Amari & Locallo, a law firm that focuses exclusively on real estate tax assessment issues. He is a J.D. recipient from The John Marshall Law School, with honors. Amari has been a John Marshall trustee since 2000 and was elected president of the board in 2007. He is past president of the Illinois State Bar Association, a member of the Chicago Bar Association’s State and Local Taxation Committee, and a member and past president of the Justinian Society of Lawyers. He has received numerous honors from many organizations recognizing his service.