The Chicagoland Italian American Charitable Organization honored Louis Scaramuzzo as Humanitarian of the Year on April 29 at Medinah Shrine Center in Addison.
A top performer in the luxury automobile market for three decades, Lou pours his heart and soul into every aspect of his life.
With paternal grandparents Louis and Immaculata Scaramuzzo hailing from Caserta near Naples, and maternal grandparents Carmelo and Rosina Termine emigrating from Marsala in Sicily, Lou’s Italian roots run deep.
The oldest Peter and Mary Scaramuzzo for children, Lou was born in Chicago and raised in Oak Lawn. “My parents grew up on Taylor Street and they instilled in me the old-neighborhood values of working hard and treating people with respect,” he explains.
Lou and his siblings — Rosemarie, Mark, Carl — share fond memories of an Italian upbringing filled with family and tradition.
“My maternal grandmother lived with us and my paternal grandparents lived nearby,” he fondly recalls. “We’d gather every Sunday and on holidays for big family meals where we kept our Italian customs alive.”
A graduate of Brother Rice High School, Lou spent the first 20 years of his professional career in wholesale liquor distribution. But when the industry began to consolidate in the late 1980s, it was time for a change.
“A dear friend of mine who has spent his entire career in auto sales, Dominic Pugliani, convinced me that I had a brighter future there,” Lou recalls. “I made the switch and I couldn’t be happier.”
For Lou, auto sales is more than a just a profession.
“With the automobile being the second largest purchase that most people make, you end up developing more than just loyal customers. Many of the them become good friends,” he explains. “My job is to make sure that they have the right car for the right price and to be there to answer all their questions, both before and after the sale.”
During a storied career in both sales and management, Lou earned the trust and respect of customers, fellow salespeople and management alike.
He earned the title of Master Manager for several years running during his tenure at a local Cadillac dealership. He served on an elite team from across the nation that met quarterly to advise corporate leadership.
Five years of sales experience at Mercedes-Benz dealerships followed, culminating in his current position at Mercedes-Benz of St. Charles. “This is more than a new opportunity for me,” Lou says. “It feels like I’ve come home.”
A member of CIACO since 2003 and a board member since 2006, Lou has been a driving force in the organization. He served as secretary as well as second and first vice president, and recently completed a seven-year stint as president.
“My good friend Tom Reboletti invited me to join the organization,” Lou explains. “I saw the good they were doing and the opportunity they offered to give back to the community and celebrate my Italian heritage. It was a perfect fit.”
Lou is also passionately involved in the Chicago West Suburban Chapter of UNICO National. “Both groups are like extended families for me,” he shares. “There’s a brotherhood and a camaraderie there that can’t be beat.”
With all of his professional and philanthropic accomplishments, Lou is most proud of the family he has created with his children Carla, Peter and Laura; his grandchildren Sydney, Isabella, Kylie, Sophia, Courtney, Joseph, Isla and Declan; his stepdaughter, Penny; and his life partner, Linda Gagliano.
“I’m proud to have been able to raise my children as a single parent and I’m so grateful to have Linda in my life,” he says. “I’m lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful people and so much love.”