Charles Lazzio, a life long resident of Lake Geneva, passed away at age 99 after a short stay at Holton Manor in Elkhorn, WI.
He was born in 1920, in Lake Geneva, to Sicilian parents Joseph and Frances Lazzio. In his preteen years he worked at grandfather’s produce stand as well as spending summers working with his uncles and cousins in their North Shore Chicago produce business. Later, he worked alongside his father who was Manager at the Lake Geneva Country Club. In addition to his official duties, he also taught and coached tennis and golf.
In 1942, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He had nine months of training in Altus, Oklahoma, and San Antonio. In addition to preflight, primary and advanced flight training, he studied meteorology, map reading, physics, advanced algebra, aircraft identification, code, navigation, theory of flight, aircraft instrument bombing and theory, and organizational planning. He flew PT19’s, PT13’s, and the UC78 --the Bamboo Bomber. He graduated with the Class 43K as a 2nd Lieutenant. With his experience and training, he became an instrument and navigation instructor and a Director of Operations. In 1944, he was deployed to Casablanca, North Africa. To reach that destination, he flew a C47 from Florida to Aruba and then on to Casablanca. Charles was assigned to a base in Tunis where he flew a fixed route to Tripoli, Alexandra, Tehran, and Naples; his assignment was to fly personnel, transport, cargo, and supplies. It was in Tunis where he met his future wife, Denise Zarka, a young French woman. They were married at Fort Sheridan on August 18, 1946, and celebrated 70 years of marriage before the death of Denise in 2017. They were able to travel extensively throughout the United States and Europe
When the war ended, he completed his active duty on December 13, 1946, at the 594 AAF Base Unit, TAAFLD, Topeka, Kansas. To finish his Military career, he joined the Air Force Reserve and retired in 1968, as a Lieutenant Colonel.
Charles and Denise lived in Lake Geneva for most of their marriage as they loved the city, and felt it was the perfect place to raise their three children. Throughout these years, Charles managed a gas station where the KFC now exists and formed a partnership with a friend to open a used car lot. After the partnership dissolved, he went to work selling new and used cars in the Southern Lakes area from the mid 60’s, until his retirement. Charles was active in Kiwanis and was President of the Lake Geneva Group in the 1960’s.
Charles loved listening to the music of Frank Sinatra and dancing to the big bands of the era and was very fond of the Air Force song, “Wild Blue Yonder”. He will be remembered as a man who loved his family and country; he will be greatly missed by family and friends.
Charles is survived by his daughters, Josiane (James) Polenska of Buffalo Grove, Il, Linda (William) Siehr of Mequon WI, son Jeffrey (Diane) Lazzio of Burlington, WI; eight grandchildren: Daniel (MacKenzie) Polenska, Johanna (Kevin) Huberty, Stephanie (Ethan) Handler, Dustin (Kristin) Siehr, Ryan (Lauren) Siehr, Benjamin, Michael, and Janine Lazzio; and, 10 great grandchildren.
Charles was preceeded in death by his wife, Denise, his parents, his sister Kathryn Nans, and his brother Phillip Lazzio.
The family will greet friends for a memorial gathering at The Ridge Hotel, W4240 WI-50, Lake Geneva, from 12:30-3 PM, Sunday, February 16, 2020.
Private interment will be at Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Union Grove.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to an organization or charity of your choice.
Derrick Funeral Home assisted the family with arrangements.
To send flowers to Charles' family, please visit our floral section.