KANKAKEE — Mario John Sebastiani, 93, of Kankakee, passed away Monday (June 7, 2021) in the house he loved. He was surrounded by those he lived for, his family.
He was born Feb. 25, 1928, the son of Eugene and Carlotta (Lenci) Sebastiani. Mario married the former Betty Bright on June 26, 1954.
In his youth, he was a paper boy for the Kankakee Republican (precursor of The Daily Journal). At age 16, he officially began employment with the newspaper. It became his career for 65 years. His first responsibilities were the jobs in the pressroom no one else wanted to do like wiping down the presses. His older brother, Louie, was inducted into the U.S. Navy during World War II. Mario took his place in circulation. When Louie came home, Mario returned to the pressroom and soon became a pressman. As improvements began to influence the printing of newspapers, new offset presses were acquired. During this same period, he became pressroom superintendent. The Daily Journal also became a print site for USA Today for the Chicago area. Under his supervision, The Daily Journal won many prestigious awards for printing quality, including several from USA Today. His final position with the paper was that of general manager. He was instrumental in the day-to-day operation of the paper. His reputation and relationship with his peers was one of highest respect and admiration.
Mario served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Because of his printing experience, he was stationed in Tokyo, Japan. Each day he would receive aerial photographs of the battle front and print maps for the field command that showed battle lines and troop placements. His military service ended in 1954.
His great pleasure was to see things grow; primarily his garden and fruit trees. Every summer there was an abundance of vegetables and fruit to be picked and delivered to friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances. His two most favorite spots on earth were his own back yard and in recent years, his living room chair. From that viewpoint he could watch his plantings grow with one eye and the stock market with the other.
Surviving are his daughters, Gina (Michael) Pullen and Linda (Jim) Scanlon; grandchildren, Mary (Mitch) Holmgren, Melissa (Peter) Chung, Brad Johnson, Stephanie (Mark) Alessi and Sarah (Kelly) Krippel; stepgrandchildren, Jenna Kostelicz and Jamie Panici and their families; great-grandchildren, Brady and Ella Chung, Evan and Leah Alessi and Kyle Holmgren; sisters-in-law, Dorothy and Elinor Bright; and caregiver, D’Angelo Hunter.
Preceding him in death were his wife of 67 years, Betty (Bright) Sebastiani; parents, Eugene and Carlotta Sebastiani; beloved brother, Louie Sebastiani; brother-in-law, Joseph Bright; and sister-in-law, Elsie Menard.
A time of remembrance will be held in his honor at Kankakee First Church of the Nazarene, 1000 North Entrance Ave., Kankakee, on Monday, June 14. There will be a short visitation from 10 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. followed by a service at 10:30 a.m. Burial will be in Kankakee Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Aroma Township.
Mario was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. We were blessed to have had his love and presence in our lives. He was a great man with a great heart.
Memorials may be made to the family to carry out Mario’s wishes.
Please sign Mario’s online guestbook at clancygernon.com.