Mayor Keith Pekau presents an award to 100-year-old Lea Luchini at the Feb. 20 board meeting. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Mayor Keith Pekau presents an award to 100-year-old Lea Luchini at the Feb. 20 board meeting. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Village honors 100-year-old who has lived in Orland Park for 50 years

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By Jeff Vorva

The Village of Orland Park honored resident Lea Luchini, who is enjoying a couple of milestone celebrations.

She turned 100 on Feb. 15 and this is the 50th year she has lived in Orland Park.

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau read a proclamation recognizing Luchini at the Feb. 20 village board meeting.

“She keeps her mind engaged, stays active and is still up for new adventures,” Pekau said. “Some advice from Lea: listen to your elders. They have much to contribute and don’t let your newly widowed young mother move in with you ‘temporarily.’”

There were photos of Luchini at various ages shown on the big video screens at Village Hall while the mayor was reading the proclamation.

According to information supplied by her family, she is not taking any medication and when she was 86, she tried jet-skiing. She just stopped driving a few years ago.

“I survived living to 100 and there is nothing wrong with me,” she said.

According to the family, Luchini was born in 1923 in Gragnola, Italy, a small community located in the mountains of northern Tuscany.

She came to the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago with her parents, Adele and Emil when she was 2.

She didn’t speak English right away but soon adapted and was able to graduate from St. Willibrord Grade School and St. Louis Academy High School.

She married active-duty World War II Navy Seaman August Luchini in Roseland.

In the 1940s and 1950s, the couple had daughters Adele, Alice and Anita and Lea spent her days as a mother but also squeezed in some time to work part-time at a furniture store as an office worker handling the money.

The family moved to Orland Park in 1973 and soon blossomed with five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Gus died in 1994 and Lea became a fixture working at a knitting shop in Orland Park.  She still attends craft shows and enjoys crocheting.

She doesn’t have any words of wisdom about how to live to be 100.

“I don’t have any secret, I just keep going,” she said. “When I was younger, I never even thought of living this long.”

Park improvements

The board voted on a few items to improve some of the parks in the village.

The village has been laying out plans for massive changes at Schussler Park and took a big step forward spending $1.2 million to install FieldTurf’s Vertex Prime turf for two full-size fields serving football, lacrosse and soccer.

Officials hope this project can be completed this year.

The board is also spending $94,000 on installing new batting cages at John Humphrey and Centennial Parks. National Sports Nets LLC will perform the work.

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