Victor Giustino was born in Chicago on May 10, 1937, to Joseph (Giuseppe) Giustino of Mola di Bari, Italy and Rose Giustino, nee Rezcek. Joseph and Rose owned the Oslo Café and later the Napoli Pizzeria (both on Milwaukee Avenue) where Victor helped out after school and a time or two, used to ‘shine shoes’ for a nickel. Victor is survived by his sister Antoinette (Fred) Stanley (Apple Valley, CA); he joins his father, mother, his sister Evelyn (the late Bill) Kreutzer, and brothers Michael "Mickey" (the late Grace), Joseph (the late Cathleen) and John (the late Dorothy) in Heaven. He was generous, involved and an engaged son, brother, uncle, grand-uncle, friend and neighbor.
Victor attended Tuley High School and Roosevelt University where he studied Business Administration (1962), and earned his Master’s degree in Urban Studies from Governor State. Victor worked at Allstate Insurance for almost 30 years, was a member of the JCCIA and was part of the 32nd Ward and Democratic Party over 50 years.
Although well-traveled in the United States, Mexico, and Europe, Victor lived his whole life in Chicago. Chicago and Chicago History were his true loves. Victor helped establish the Italian Veterans in Melrose Park; gave lectures and taught Chicago History at many city colleges and led tours throughout Chicago and the neighborhoods for many years sharing his city with others. He was on the radio (WJJG) called Cop Talk where he shared many Chicago stories of the past and participated in lively conversations with some our Men in Blue. Victor was a member of the WGN Radio Program with Eddie Schwartz in the 1980’s talking about Chicago. He was a member of various neighborhood groups (Lakeview and Lincoln Park), fighting against neighborhood crime and urban decay and was the winner of one of Crain’s Chicago trivia contests in the 1980’s winning a dinner, which he thought was “cool.”
He was a real Chicagoan who loved his city and the people. He found great enjoyment in attending the many Chicago cultural events every summer. One could find Victor walking the streets of Chicago attending the summer festivals in Wicker Park, Bucktown, getting coffee on Division Street at Alliance Bakery, Bari for Italian Sausage, Margi’s for candies, Kasia’s for pierogis, and of course, the Italian Fests in the city or suburbs. He also loved to dance and went to Grant Park every summer to learn various dance moves Thursday through Saturday, dancing the summer nights away.
Victor was very proud of his vast book collection, especially his Chicago history book collection, Italians, current events, and of course, Chicago politics. His collection spans from the late 1800’s to the present. Victor was a gifted poet and took great delight in giving out poems to people on the street and his family. Some of his articles and work have been published. He also loved to share stories with tourists he would meet at various festivals and/or coffee shops.
Victor was very proud to be an Italian. He loved his Italian roots and it showed. He loved reading and talking about the Italians and their many contributions to Chicago, America, and the world.
Victor was so much more than the “Neyborhood Guy” (a phrase believed he coined himself with that spelling). He loved his family, loved his friends, and loved our Great City. His parting words – “Enjoy Life and Travel – Talk to people and find out about them – Be interested in others!” Victor will be deeply missed, but knowing he is with his parents and siblings who have gone before him gives great comfort to all those whose lives he touched.
Visitation Friday, Oct. 1st, 10:00 a.m. until time of Funeral Service at 11:30 a.m. at Jaeger Funeral Home, 3526 N. Cicero Ave., Chicago.
Interment Graceland Cemetery.
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