NEWS | May 4, 2020

Family, Co-workers Finding New Ways to Move Forward Following Coronavirus Deaths

By Barbara Wilson, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office

Co-workers describe Dan Anzelone, of Romeoville, as a “breath of fresh air who was dedicated to his work and worried about everyone else before himself.”

His daughter, Pam, says her parents were “kind and very supportive” of both her and her sister.

Anzelone died April 21 from coronavirus, just 13 days after his wife of 32 years, Nancy, died from the virus April 8.   

Anzelone, age 61, worked as a Family Assistance Center Specialist at the Illinois Army National Guard’s readiness center in Crestwood. He covered all of the Chicago area, for two and a half years, serving veterans, Soldiers and their families by connecting them with resources and assistance within the community during their time of need.

“He networked with organizations in the Chicago area to provide the resources the veterans, Soldiers and families would need,” said Shannon McGraw, acting Lead Family Assistance Specialist, Illinois Army National Guard. “Monthly he would connect the families of our deployed Soldiers and developed several working relationships.”

McGraw described Anzelone as an amazing person who worried about everyone else before himself.

“He was a complete breath of fresh air,” McGraw said. “He was in the job for just a short time, but made such a huge impact in the lives of those we serve.”

McGraw said that Anzelone made it a point to check in on his work family each day.

“He kept us all centered,” she said. “We are a close work family and he made it a point of checking on us each day. He always made sure we were all having a good day.”

McGraw said Anzelone was a counselor before beginning his job with the Illinois Army National Guard, and possessed a soothing voice which helped the veterans, Soldiers and families get to an easy place.

“He made sure they were at ease in any situation,” she said.

Their daughter, Pam, describes her parents as “always fair and loving, kind and very supportive,” of both herself and her sister.

“They were always there to talk to and talk things through,” Pam said. “We were always able to talk to them about anything. That’s the one thing I’ll miss the most.”

Pam described her father as a huge Disney fan who enjoyed movies and Chicago White Sox games.

“He wore Disney ties every day,” said Pam. “They both liked to cook and both were fans of the Chicago White Sox. My mother wasn’t a movie fan, but Dad and I would go see science fiction, action and even romantic comedies.”

Dan was a counselor who then went into social work before the job at the Illinois National Guard came along.

“He really enjoyed his job,” Pam said. “He couldn’t serve [in the military] due to his eyesight, but he found other ways through his job to help the men and women serving today.”

Dan was also a member of the Knights of Columbus St. John Council 3738 and the family would work at the Bingo fundraiser each month.

She described her mother as someone who loved to sew, do crafts and loved games.

“She loved games, board games, dice, cards, really any type of game,” Pam said. “She was a volunteer through the Citizen Police Academy and the Citizen Fire Academy.”

Pam said her mother had previously worked as a secretary before retiring as a manager of a loan office.

She belonged to both the Romeoville Senior Club and the Bolingbrook Senior Club,” she said. “She loved to play bingo and both liked to cook. She also enjoyed going to the Arlington Race Track on Mother’s Day to watch the horses.”

“Each morning he’d email us what we call ‘cheesy dad jokes’,” said McGraw. “We miss those, but we are trying to find new ways of moving forward.”

“I spoke with Dan just two days after Nancy passed away,” said Michael Legler, Director, State Family Programs, Illinois Army National Guard. “He was so dedicated to his work. He was still taking and handling Soldiers’ and family calls, even though he had just lost his wife, and he was ill himself.”

Dan and Nancy are survived by two daughters, Karla, and husband Victor Banda, Pam Anzelone, several brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews.