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Des Moines

Lucretia Michaela Funaro, 88, passed away on January 2, 2021, at EveryStep Kavanagh House in Des Moines. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, January 11, at Ss John and Paul Catholic Church, 1401 1st Ave S, Altoona, IA. Burial will follow at Glendale Cemetery. A visitation will precede the Mass, beginning at 9:30 a.m. when a rosary will be recited.

Lucretia was born in Des Moines on August 3, 1932, to Catherina and Michael Funaro, who immigrated to the United States from Terravecchia, Italy. The youngest of five children, Lucretia relished the attention she received from her parents and siblings, as well as the customers and deliverymen who frequented the family’s grocery store and tavern on Hubbell Ave. on Des Moines’ east side. In fact, it was a beer truck driver who gave her the nickname “Tootsie,” which remained with her for the rest of her life.

Lucretia attended St. Peter grade school and St. Joseph Academy, graduating in 1951. She entered the Sisters of Mercy religious order in Omaha and, after earning a teaching degree, returned to Des Moines as Sr. Mary Michaela to teach at Holy Trinity School. In the mid-1960s, she was reassigned to St. James’ Orphanage in Omaha, where she remained until the mid-1970s when she returned to Des Moines to care for her mother. During the ensuing years, Lucretia served as Director of the American Child Academy and held positions with the City of Des Moines and finally with the State of Iowa. She retired from the Department of Human Services in 2009.

A devout Catholic and active Democrat, Lucretia was a champion of the underserved and marginalized throughout her life and was always ready to help those in need. She had an indomitable zest for life and a strong will. Above all, she was a true child at heart with an enduring love of toys, cars and the menagerie of pets she adopted over the years. Tooling around town on a Vespa in her 60s, she was forever a free spirit, as preordained by her middle name, “Liberoto.” These qualities, coupled with her diminutive stature and playful sense of humor, endeared her to children and adults alike, and particularly her students and nieces and nephews.

Lucretia was preceded in death by her parents, her sister, Mary Gabriel, her brothers, Charles, Sam and Frank Funaro, and her dear friend, Eileen Creager. She is survived by her nieces, Catherine Strait, Nancy McCarthy, Michelle Jaselskis, Caroline Funaro, Patricia Funaro and Janette Funaro; her nephews, Michael Gabriel, Jeff Funaro and Greg Funaro; her sister-in-law, Jeanne Funaro; many extended family members and friends; her dog, Barry; and her cat, Rosie.

The family wishes to thank the staff at MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center, EveryStep Hospice, and EveryStep Kavanagh House for their loving care and support.

In lieu of flowers, please direct memorial contributions to Ss John and Paul Catholic Church or the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. Condolences may be expressed at www.HamitonsFuneralHome.com.

Service Details

Visitation:
Monday, January 11, 2021
9:30 to 11:00 am
Saints John & Paul Parish
1401 1st Avenue South
Altoona, Iowa 50009
Service:
Monday, January 11, 2021
11:00 am
Saints John & Paul Parish
1401 1st Avenue South
Altoona, Iowa 50009
Disposition:
Glendale Cemetery
Des Moines
Arrangements:
Hamilton's Funeral Home
605 Lyon Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
(515) 243-5221

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