Martha June Pagano of Herrin passed away on Monday morning, August 10, at 7:28 a.m. She had been a resident of Sunshine Gardens in Marion for only two weeks at the time of her death, having lived the past four years with her daughter and son-in-law, Carla and David Hays.
Her parents, David and Mary Upchurch welcomed her into their lives in the tiny village of New Burnside, Illinois, on February 24, 1930. Her brother and sister, Jean and Jimmy, followed soon after, and their childhood was spent with friends happily roaming the streets and the creek of this once booming railroad town. The family later moved into the “Big City” of Marion, and there June attended high school, excelling in her art classes. She left art behind to find secretarial work after graduation, and it wasn’t long until she met her life-long love, Romo Pagano. Their relationship raised eyebrows – he was older, and from a Catholic Italian family in Herrin; she a Protestant girl with light brown hair, and a smile that won his heart.
Throughout their 63 year marriage, June helped Romo in his television/antenna business, took time to be a stay-at-home mom, and then when her kids were out the door, she found her dream job as a graphic artist at Diagraph Bradley in Marion. She revisited her artistic side, and painted, sold, and won ribbons for many paintings of portraits and landscapes. She was a charter member of The Little Egypt Arts Association, and painted until she was in her early 80’s. Romo and June also loved to travel, and after all the summer vacations with their children came to an end, they toured Europe together. Her grandchildren will always remember the adventures she took them on in the woods surrounding her house, and the stories she wove around their fun.
Before she became too frail to get out, she attended First Baptist Church in Herrin, and never lost her love for gospel music.
Preceding her in death were her parents, David and Mary; her husband, Romo Pagano; her sister and brother, Jean Bradley, and Jimmy Upchurch.
Surviving Mrs. Pagano are:
Her four children: Carla (David) Hays, Mark (Kelly) Pagano, Carol (Steve) Vaughn, and Scot (Rhonda) Pagano
Her grandchildren: Shane, Allison (Jess), and Beau Vaughn; Jacob (Amber) Horn and Nicholas Hays; Joe (Michelle), Ben (Becca) and Megan (Eliot) Pagano; Colin, Abbi and Macartney Pagano; Rachel and Rebecca Marlow; and Roman Snow
Her great-grandchildren: Ari Pagano, Sunny Pagano, Dylan Cripps, Ledger Marlow, Sway Woolridge, Dalton and Lyra Rothchild.
Her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, James Bradley and Shirley Upchurch survive her as well.
Special love and thanks to her wonderful caregivers; LaDonna Bennett, Cindy Page, Rhonda Pearce, DeAnn Bennett and Cathy Roulainitis.
Services will be held at Johnson-Hughes Funeral Home on Thursday, August 13, at 12:00 noon with Reverend Richard Pearce officiating. Burial will follow in Rose Hill Cemetery in Marion. Visitation will precede at 10:00 a.m. For those who prefer, memorials may be made to The Little Egypt Arts Association or Hospice of Southern Illinois, and will be accepted at Johnson-Hughes Funeral Home, 201 S. 13th Street, Herrin, IL 62948.
Due to health concerns related to the COVID-19 virus, those attending the visitation and funeral service are asked to follow social distancing guidelines and the wearing of masks is encouraged.