Iolanda “Vi” Costanzi was born on April 3, 1922, in Chisholm, Minn. She was the daughter of Fortunato “Curly” Tiburzi and Carolina Polucci Tiburzi.
She passed away peacefully on Dec. 27, 2020, at the Benedictine Living Center in Duluth at the College of St. Scholastica after a brief illness. She contracted COVID 19 earlier in November of 2020 but had only mild symptoms.
Vi’s parents emigrated from Italy. Her grandparents, John and Mary Tiburzi, lived in the family home as well as her uncle, Franz. When Vi began kindergarten, she could not speak English, and her cousin Anne was constantly embarrassed by having to translate for her. She overcame this “disability” and graduated from Chisholm High School in 1940. She attended business college.
Vi married Vincent “Jim” Costanzi in January of 1945. They had been smitten with each other since the 6th grade. Jim attended the Dunwoody Academy in Minneapolis, and they lived in Minneapolis until their return to Chisholm several years later. Vi worked at Sunny Hill Distributors as a bookkeeper. When the children arrived, she became a fulltime housewife. Mary was born in 1951 and John in 1956. Vincent passed away in 1990. Vi married Wesley Johnston in 2009 and they resided in Chisholm until they moved to the Benedictine Living Center. Wesley passed away in 2019.
Vi traveled the Range area working for J.C. Penny in the decorating department, fashioning draperies and coordinating furniture fabrics for 14 years, beginning in the late-1960’s. She also volunteered at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, was involved in the Befriender program, and was a member of several bridge clubs. She was very athletic and was a member of several curling teams, cross-country skied, and bowled. She excelled at many things including a 7/10 split in bowling, a hole in one award, longest drive award, and was a long-time member of the Mesaba Country Club. Vi loved to cook, and in 1964 she won the Regional Pillsbury Bake-off and then flew for the first time to California to participate in the Finals. She was an avid clothing designer, and also sewed many baptismal gowns for the Church. Vi was a gifted joke-teller and delighted her family often with a new story – generally told with a perfect accent. She will be sorely missed by (almost) countless cousins, nieces and nephews, and extended family. Nothing delighted her more than a glass of wine, and a good visit with friends or family.
Vi is survived by her son, John of St. Cloud, Minn., and daughter, Mary Goody (Keith) of Battle Ground, Wash.; grandchildren include Meggan Draper (CJ) of Murfreesboro, Ark., James Hudson of LaCenter, Wash., Elliott Hudson of Portland, Ore., Greyson Goody (Taly) of Palos Verdes Estate, Calif., and Grant Goody of Jackson, Wyo. She also is survived by her sister, Gena Baron of Chisholm.
She was predeceased by her first husband, Vincent Costanzi; and her second husband, Wesley Johnston; and a brother, Robert Tiburzi of Hibbing.
A memorial mass will be held 11 a.m. Friday, July 23, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Chisholm.
Visitation will be held 10 a.m. until the beginning of mass at the church.
Interment will be held at the Calvary Cemetery in Chisholm.
Should you wish to make a donation, please consider the Benedictine “BLC Foundation.” The care she received at the Living Center, both in the Independent and Memory Care sections was outstanding. The family wishes to thank the Staff at the Terrace for their loving care for her this past year, and in the last week of her life. Donations can be sent to Merry Wallin, Director, BLC Foundation, 935 Kenwood Ave, Duluth, Minnesota 55811.
Arrangements are with Dougherty Funeral Home of Hibbing. To leave an online message of condolence, please visit us at www.doughertyofhibbing.com.