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Donnellan Funeral Home
10045 Skokie Blvd.
Skokie, IL 60077
847-675-1990

Lauren Cavallo-Runzel

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Lauren Cavallo-Runzel Obituary
Cavallo-Runzel, Lauren Died on Saturday, May 26, surrounded by her husband, William L. Runzel IV, her six children, and her immediate family members. Lauren was a person of immeasurable gifts and versatility, whose larger than life personality was the inevitable result of a storied heritage. Her father, the late bandleader, Chuck Cavallo, and her mother, Arlene E. Causey, a former Miss Oak Street Beach, Miss Chicago, Miss Illinois and runner-up to Miss America, brought her and her three siblings up in a house filled with music of all kinds, from Bach to Duke Ellington. Chuck Cavallo is still remembered by those in Chicago who wanted to have the most impeccable and elegant music for their weddings and other important occasions. From her father, she learned an appreciation for beauty in all of its forms: fine furniture, paintings, sculpture and design. From her mother, the daughter of a coal miner from Harlan County, Kentucky and a self-taught intellectual, she learned along with her three siblings, Chuck, Barbara and Susan, a love for literature, especially poetry. Lauren will be remembered for so many things. As a member of Glamour Agency in Paris, she had a fabulous career as a runway and photographic model in Europe from 1978-1982. During this time she did all of the important shows in Paris and MilanSaint Laurent, Gucci, Dior, Armani, Versacewhile gracing the pages of French and Italian magazines from Votre Beauté, Elle, Vogue, to Cosmopolitan. When she met her future husband Bill Runzel, she returned to Chicago and continued to work as a successful model with David and Lee in Chicago until she created her own company, Good Looks. GL performed a number of services from closet organization to personal shopping to special make-up for weddings, anniversaries and gala occasions. Four years ago she fulfilled a long-standing dream to create her own boutique, Gavin, on Central Street in Evanston, so that all women, regardless of age, body type or lifestyle, could feel not only chic but beautiful. This was one of her most outstanding gifts: from her years at the height of the fashion business, she had an unerring instinct for style, and she shared this talent with all of her friends and clients. Lauren could make anybody pretty! But she was not only a fashionista. Lauren graduated from Tulane University with a dual major in history and French; and before she decided to return to Paris where she had spent her junior year abroad with Middlebury College, she applied and was accepted to several law schools. She also found time once she returned to Chicago to accept a teaching assistantship in French in the Department of Modern Languages & Literatures at Loyola University. She would have completed her MA in French had not the French graduate program closed like so many during the 1980s. Lauren was quadrilingual, at ease in French, Spanish and Italian in addition to her native English. She was also a trophy-winning triathlete, placing first or near first in her age group while raising six children. In fact, when she was on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the 1990s in a program entitled, "Models with Children," she responded without irony to Oprah's question as to what she did for relaxation, "Between each child, I allow myself a triathlon." Captain of Evanston Township High School's diving team and a star at the butterfly stroke on the swim team, an avid tennis player, and an enthusiastic boater with her husband Bill, Lauren also found time to volunteer in her children's grammar school, St. Athanasius, inaugurating "Pasta Day," coaching basketball, creating the French program and collaborating in the yearly student tour to France. She was one of the angels of her favorite charity, Boys Hope Girls Hope, an organization that provides housing and Catholic school education to promising inner-city children, from K through college. In fact, when she recently heard that she was to receive the organization's highest award, she said, "Only if you include my husband Bill, because he is the real benefactor." What sustained Lauren throughout her bout with breast cancer was her deep faith. Lauren was not only a committed Catholic, she was able to communicate her faith to her many friends who were struggling with illness, divorce, the deaths of their parents, siblings and children, economic hardship, and loss of belief. Perhaps one of the pinnacles of her life was a recent visit in the company of her husband, her son Cooper, and her sister Susana, to Padre Pio's shrine in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. The simplicity of Padre Pio's life and his painful journey which faith made transcendent was a beacon for her until the end. Lauren is survived by her husband, William L. Runzel IV; her children, William L. Runzel V, Victoria Barbara, Gavin Alexandra, Cooper Causey, Charlotte Catherine and Harrison Shallow. Of all the things that brought her the most pride, the singularly most important was her six children's participation in the Best Buddy Program. In fact, her fifth child, Charlotte Catherine, was President of Best Buddy's during her senior year in high school (2011-2012), a role that her youngest, Harrison Shallow, has vowed to fill. She will never be forgotten by her husband and children, her brother, Dr. Charles A. Cavallo, her sister, Dr. Susana Cavallo, her late sister, Barbara Bailey, her nineteen nieces and nephews, and innumerable other family members and friends throughout the U.S., Europe and Latin America. The wake for Lauren Cavallo-Runzel will be on Thursday, May 31, from 3-9PM at Donnellan Family Funeral Home, 10045 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, IL 60077, with the funeral following on Friday morning, June 1, at 10:30AM at St. Athanasius Church, 1615 Lincoln St., Evanston, Il 60201. Interment Bronswood Cemetery, Oak Brook, IL. In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer donations to Boys Hope Girls Hope of Chicago, 1100 N. Laramie Ave., Wilmette, Il 60091. Info: 847/675-1990 or www.donnellanfuneral.com.
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Published in Chicago Sun-Times on May 30, 2012
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