John Delia

06/08/1941 - 01/04/2020


Obituary For John Delia

John “Papa” Delia passed to eternal life on January 4, 2020, after a brief illness. John was born in Rockford, on June 8, 1941, the youngest of four sons of Italian immigrants Francis and Frances Delia. John graduated from West High School and worked at Piggly Wiggly, where he met the love of his life, Diana Diggs. They married and were blessed with the next loves of his life, John, Deb, and Natalie. After a short time as “the milkman,” John joined the Rockford Fire Department in 1966. While he served at many stations, his favorite was his last station, as he loved walking from home to the station on and off duty, often with his beloved Schnoodle dogs, who were always welcomed visitors by all of the firefighters, including after he retired.

The best husband, father, and Papa you could want, John enjoyed his retirement with family and friends, cooking family and Fire Department favorite recipes. His days began with a cup of coffee, his crossword puzzles, and checking the grocery store ads for the best deals. He endured the ups and downs of his beloved Cubs, trips to casinos, and travels to Arizona Spring Training, even taking granddaughter, Katie, his “Sunshine,” when just a few months old. He and Nana proudly watched Katie and her brother, Joey, Papa’s “Buddy”, with many visits to playgrounds, chauffeuring to school and sports outings, and proudly watching them both graduate from Boylan and head off to Marquette University to continue their education.

John is survived by Diana, children John (Susie), Deb (special friend, Howard), and Natalie, grandchildren Katie and Joey, brothers-in-law Ron Stormont, Don (Carol) and Doran Diggs, sister-in-law Loretta (Tom) Diggs Murawski, cousin Dian Russo, numerous nieces, nephews and friends, and special family friends, Ron and Rosie Graw. Those who predeceased him include his parents, brothers Frank (Doris), Joe (Geraldine), and Angelo (Marie) Delia, a sister, Natalia, in infancy in Italy, cousins Ralph Russo and Betty (Frank) Eklund, special mother-in-law, Marie (John) Diggs, sister-in-law Donna Stormont, and brothers-in-law John, Dennis (Anne) and Darrell Diggs.

Memorial Mass at 1:00pm Saturday, January 11, 2020 in St Bridget Catholic Church, 600 Clifford Avenue, Loves Park. Memorial Visitation from 12pm until service time, Saturday in the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Rockford Firefighters Relief Association 204 South First Street, Rockford, IL 61104 or Noah’s Ark 111 N. 1st St Rockford, IL 61107 Arrangements by Tony Gasparini Funerals.


11 Jan


12:00 PM

St. Bridget 604 Clifford Avenue Loves Park, Il 61111 Get Directions »
11 Jan

Funeral Mass

01:00 PM

St. Bridget 604 Clifford Avenue Loves Park, Il 61111 Get Directions »
by FHW Solutions

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  • 01/16/2020

    I am so sorry for your loss. I received a message that John had passed away. I graduated with him from West High School in 1959, and I believe we had two classes together. John was great classmate, he will be missed. R.I.P. John, a good West High Warrior. Sincerely Bill Lamps (1959).

  • 01/09/2020

    So sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family

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