LASALLE — On Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, God decided to send his chariot of angels with all their bright lights to bring his daughter, Verna Salazar, home to be with Him in His arms in Heaven. She died peacefully in her home at 12:45 p.m. and was surrounded by her five children, grandchildren and family members.
Verna was born June 19, 1940, in Princeton to Elma (Hawkins) and Vernon Bracey. She was raised by her mother and stepfather, Floyd Dickinson Sr., whom she called dad. She was one of nine children.
On June 21, 1958, Verna married her one and only love, Demetrio Salazar of LaSalle. Together, they raised five wonderful children, and built a life of love and laughter — always putting family first. Because of their love, their family grew to be over 50 people that consisted of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was a converted and devoted Catholic who made sure to raise her family to become great Catholics, as well.
Verna and Demetrio valued education, and worked as hard as they could to send their children to St. Patrick’s grade school in LaSalle. Two of their sons went to high school at St. Bede Academy, and their two daughters and a son attended LaSalle-Peru Township High School. All of their children went on to pursue college degrees and collectively earned two bachelor’s degrees, two master’s degrees and one doctorate degree.
Along with being an outstanding wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt and friend, she was an animal activist who donated as much as she could to animal rights campaigns. She was an avid Chicago Bears fan and loved to watch football games or Friday night fights at home on TV with her beloved husband. She always enjoyed watching her family members play sports, as well, and was even her daughters’ softball coach growing up.
She loved her family dearly and loved family parties. She was the best cook known to man, and she could bake a cake in her sleep (and have it be the best cake you have ever tasted). She was the kind of person who never forgot a birthday, anniversary, football game, choir concert, etc. and she tried to make it to as many things as she could to support and cheer on her family. Verna spent much of her free time in her garden, and loved to do yard work. Traveling was a passion of hers. She went on many vacations with each of her children, and even planned some vacations for the entire family to attend — and when she called, they showed up in troops. Everything she did began and ended with her family — including giving her daughter one of her own kidneys and a second chance at life.
Verna served on the St. Patrick’s School board, was president of the PTA, and chaired the annual corned beef and cabbage dinner at St. Patrick’s School for many years. She was a member of Ladies of Saint Anne’s Sodality and the Ladies of Charity. She was also a Girl Scouts leader for many years. She retired in 2002 from the LaSalle Post Office.
Verna is survived by her husband, Demetrio; her five children, Demi (Annette) of Princeton, Angela of Dunlap, Petrita of LaSalle, R.J. (Sandy) of LaSalle and Brent (Kelley) of Spring Valley; her 11 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and her two cats, Panda and Cloudy. She is also survived by her siblings, Floyd (Carol) Dickinson, Ruth Ramberg and Laverne (Maxine) Anderson; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her mother, father, stepfather (dad), two sisters, two brothers, and one grandson, Tommy Milby.
Verna will be sadly missed by her family and friends. She was deeply loved, and although there will be a void, she will live on forever in our hearts. Her legacy will transcend through generations, and she will always be remembered for her elegance, grace and beauty.
Funeral services will be at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 28, at the Mueller-Pagani Funeral Home, LaSalle, followed by a Memorial Mass at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Church in LaSalle with the Rev. Antonio Dittmer, pastor, officiating. Burial will follow in Union Cemetery in Ohio, Ill.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27, at the funeral home with a liturgical prayer service at 3:45 p.m.
Pallbearers will be her grandchildren, Nico, Chris and Isaac Salazar, Frank and Steven Zupancic, Terry Milby, Nicole, Brittany and Brianna Salazar, and Jennifer Hubbard. Honorary pallbearers will be additional grandchildren, Hunter Andracke, Cody Milby, and Logan and Rowan Salazar.
Memorial donations may be directed to the family for a memorial to be established at a later date.
The online guestbook may be viewed and remembrances shared at www.MuellerFH.com.