Frances Maurine Serangeli

March 2, 2020


Maurine Serangeli, 96, passed away on Monday 02 March 2020 at the Hopedale, IL, Nursing Home.  She was born in Deer Creek IL to Edgar Harold and Frances Ellen Marshall (McJunkin).  She was the middle of three children, older brother Bill and younger brother Don Marshall, both deceased.

Maurine began working immediately after high school and met her future husband, Giuseppe “Joe” Serangeli, while both were working for the Department of Agriculture in Tazewell County, IL.  They were married in 1945, after Joe completed his initial Army Air Corps service flying B-25s in WWII.  After his return, they both worked for the Soil Conservation Service and together physically built their own house in Deer Creek IL.  That house still stands today.  When Joe was recalled by the Air Force to fly RB-26 reconnaissance missions in Korea, Maurine continued working and saved enough money to complete furnishing the home they built.


Their union proved to be a strong and effective partnership, and the most genuinely loving and conflict-free marriage, anyone who knew them had ever seen.  They deliberately waited to have a child until they knew they were financially secure enough to responsibly do so.  They have one son, Joseph K. Serangeli, born in 1952, who followed his father’s footsteps to become a career Air Force officer and pilot.


Maurine was a generous person often giving another person something of hers that the person admired, just to make the other person happy.  Maurine was extremely intelligent with a mind like a steel trap. She spoke her mind on many issues including politics, government and business.  She learned how to prepare income tax returns and completed the family’s taxes until recent years.  In addition to organizing and operating various office environments over the years, Maurine continued to be a significant force in her husband’s success throughout his careers, to include: as a Colonel in the Air Force; Mayor of Eureka, IL; Executive Coordinator for Hopedale Medical Complex; and Director of the Department of Human Services, Veterans and Liaison for the Secretary of State of IL.


During their assignment to the Embassy in Brussels Belgium, in the position of Assistant Air Attaché, Maurine and Joe combined to become renown within diplomatic circles for their creative themed dinner parties (Italian, Western, Maritime etc.).  After Joe’s retirement, they settled in Eureka where he served as mayor for 24 years.  During those years, it was Maurine who went door to door to publicize his plans for the city of Eureka.  She used her experience with formal dinners in Belgium to host several dinners in Eureka for various groups including the champion Eureka basketball team.  Later the Hopedale Medical Complex also benefited from her talents when she was instrumental in organizing and decorating for numerous events and functions.  While working for the Secretary of State in Springfield, they rented an inexpensive apartment in Sherman and commuted from Eureka every Sunday night.  Her decorating talents took that apartment from plain and almost Spartan, to a warm and inviting home.  She was an outgoing person who often ended up in conversations with strangers in restaurants or out shopping, that sometimes blossomed into long-term friendships.  Maurine also never forgot her Deer Creek school classmates.  Maurine kept in contact and attended reunions faithfully until the last couple of years.  The same long-term contact was maintained with friends encountered throughout their travels. 


They had their last home built in Hopedale but unfortunately, were in it only a year or so, when G. “Joe” had to be admitted to the HMC nursing home.  Shortly after admission, he asked her not to leave him.  Maurine took that request quite literally and stayed with him day and night until his passing in late October 2011. 


She remained in their last home in Hopedale, in later years with her guardian Penny (a dog rescued from the pound after Joe’s passing); and since last May with her son assisting her 24/7.  In Oct 2019, she entered the nursing home where her son and Penny visited her nearly every day.  Penny was devoted to Maurine, providing security and a much-needed distraction to the end.


Maurine was plagued by age-related dementia for several years, and it was health complications related to that condition that resulted in her passing.  In addition to her social skills, she was a fighter to the end. She never allowed the dementia to preclude her from recognizing her son and her dog.  She passed peacefully after supper in a recliner in her room.  She is likely employing that fighting spirit to ensure that the circumstances of the vows, “till death do you part” were only temporary.  G. “Joe” and Maurine were devoted to each other in life and most certainly are putting on a reunion party in the afterlife.


Davis-Oswald Funeral Home in Tremont will oversee final arrangements.  A limited family graveside observance at Mount Zion cemetery outside Deer Creek, will be at a date yet to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, cards etc., memorials may be made to Hopedale Medical Foundation P.O. Box 267, Hopedale, IL 61747, Attn: Becky P.


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