Gustaff (Gus) Constantino passed peacefully on November 9, 2022, just 5 short days before his 96th birthday. He was a lifelong Southsider, having lived in Steger, Chicago Heights, Park Forest and Crete.
Gus was orphaned at a young age and joined the Navy in 1946. He received medals and commendations for World War II Victory, American Theatre, Good Conduct and Asiatic Pacific. Upon his honorable discharge he began working for the Gerardi Ambulance Company (this work had an impact, as Gus was rarely seen without his police scanner), then Spindler Koelling Funeral Homes and Hirsch Funeral Homes, where he retired at age 85.
Fifth generation funeral director, author, and poet, Thomas Lynch said that “A good funeral gets the dead where they need to go and the living where they need to be.” There are a lot of people who work in funeral homes. Some of them in the public view, some not. They all work to make sure that, as Lynch would say, the dead and the living get where they need to go. Perhaps there is no role as central to that as the one who manages transportation. For decades, Gus made sure that the hearses, limousines, service cars were fueled, sparkling, and well maintained to get everyone, living and deceased, where they needed to be. On top of that, “Gus the Bus” took care of transporting death certificates to the county registrar’s office, to ensure that burials could take place on time and that families received the documents they needed.
Many folks around town will remember Gus but none more than his friends at Pearsons Bakery where he stopped every day for his coffee and chocolate cinnamon swirl donut.
Gus was a lifelong member of St. Liborius Catholic Church, and he was known for always helping when anything needed to be done; be it a reading or a ride, he stepped in, and he delivered the bulletin to several parishioners and friends every week.
Gus is survived by many friends and coworkers. Gus’s long and well lived life was enhanced and extended by the love and care of friends too numerous to mention.
Services are being planned and he will be laid to rest with military honors at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, IL Arrangements entrusted to JENNIFER BERLONGIERI, FUNERAL DIRECTOR, Central Chapels-Chicago.
Please visit GUSTAF CONSTANTINO BOOK OF MEMORIES. To express your thoughts or memories in the online guest book, visit www.chapelc.com or www.facebook.com/centralchapel. Info., 773 581 9000.