Rancilio celebrates 100th birthday

Madeline Rancilio, at center, accepts birthday greetings from her daughter Felicia Miller and son-in-law Paul Miller. Rancilio is 100 years old. CONTRIBUTED
Madeline Rancilio, at center, accepts birthday greetings from her daughter Felicia Miller and son-in-law Paul Miller. Rancilio is 100 years old. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Madeline Rancilio celebrated her 100th birthday on Nov. 15.

Madeline’s family and fellow residents at Heritage Assisted Living and Memory Care, 11682 County Line Road in Madison wished her birthday greetings two days early with a party on Nov. 13.

Madeline’s daughter Felicia Miller and son-in-law Paul Miller attended the get-together. Felicia said her mother has lived “a century of life, full of adventure. From her birth on Nov. 15, 1915 to the present time, it has been a blessed life.”

Madeline’s parents left their home in rural Italy to make a better life for themselves in America. “Settling in southern Illinois, they appreciated the opportunities America afforded them,” Felicia said about her grandparents.

Madeline’s father was an entrepreneur and owned a small store and worked in the coal mines. Her mother had a goat for milk and cheese. Together, her parents ran a boarding house. “Their adventurous lives spilled over into their children’s lives,” Felicia said.

“Madeline grew up dancing to the Big Bands in the 1930s, and dancing has been a joy throughout her life,” Felicia said. At the start of World War II, she started working as a munitions worker and handled high explosives.

“She then went on to marry Herman, the boy across the street, and with him she danced and traveled across America as he served in the military during the war,” Felicia said. “When that big adventure was over, they returned home to rural Illinois, where they both worked and raised their two daughters, JoAnna and Felicia.”

The Rancilios traveled as much as possible, always including dancing as part of their journeys. When they retired, Herman and Madeline enjoyed extensive tours and a cruise and won several dancing contests.

Madeline moved to Alabama to live with Felicia and Paul when Herman, her husband of 62 years, passed away. Madeline quickly adapted to her new home in Alabama, taking on one more big adventure.

“She continues to enjoy her time in the South and is always grateful to God for what she says has been ‘a wonderful life,'” Felicia said.

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