Thomas C. Albano
Thomas C. Albano
  • March 1, 1939 - January 10, 2018
  • Alsip, Illinois

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Thomas C. "Tom" Albano, age 78, of Alsip, Illinois, passed away quietly into the dawn, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, surrounded by the love and prayers of his family. Though he bravely battled his cancer, nothing could take the beauty of his spirit that is now free to draw the celestial landscapes, of which he could only dream. BORN: He was born March 1, 1939 in Chicago to his proud parents Phillip and Sadie (Caruso) Albano. EARLY YEARS: Tom grew up in Chicago on the south west side and attended local schools. He graduated from Lindblom High School with the class of 1957. Though he made his mark in the halls of Lindblom, it wasn't in Spanish. Despite his lack of fluency, he managed to steal the heart of his tutor, a freshman girl named Linda Schaible. Tom was heavily involved in various art clubs but even he couldn't have painted a picture as pretty as Linda, and vowed to himself never to let her go.
Following his graduation, Tom attended the Art Institute of Chicago where he minored in photography and majored in Advertising Design. He graduated in 1961 and found work at D' Arcy, a local advertising agency. Though many other agencies followed over the years, Tom spent many years working for Campbell-Mithun, later known as Campbell-Mithun-Esty (or CME). Tom stayed on after CME was bought by David Kravitz and by the time of his retirement in 1997, Tom had risen to Vice President Art Director. During his storied tenure, Tom left his mark in many publications and commercials, most notably for Kroger Foods, Land O' Lakes, Midway Airlines, Welch's Juices, Wyler's, American Dairy Association, Universal Foods, and McDonalds.
They say that "distance makes the heart grow fonder", and Tom knew that firsthand when Linda and her family moved to Omaha, Nebraska while Tom finished studying at the Art Institute of Chicago. "Hell hath no fury" also rang true as Linda was less than thrilled to be separated from him, and didn't miss a chance to share her intractable opinions on the subject with her parents. Several trips back and forth ensued before Tom would get down on one knee in Memorial Park in Omaha. They were united in marriage on November 25, 1961 at St. Mary Star of the Sea in Chicago.
They began their new life together in Chicago for a time before moving to Alsip, IL, on December 30, 1967. They would make fifty years of memories there, raise three children and eventually welcome into their hearts nine grandchildren and one great-grandson.
Tom was a member of Illinois Watercolors Society.
Tom had an artist's eye and painter's touch. From the tender age of five, Tom indulged in his gift for art and it became the foundation of his life, as well as a refuge. Watercolor was his medium of choice, one that few chose because of its difficulty, but not Tom. He reveled in the challenge of capturing the three dimensional world, the subtle details, imagery, shadows and light on a two dimensional canvas. His discerning eye and deft hands missed nothing; not a single detail escaped his notice and the proof was the exclamation of wonder from anyone lucky enough to see his handiwork in person. His many pictures now grace numerous walls across the country, but his hands also conjured thousands of illustrations on a myriad of surfaces; from paper table clothes depicting caricatures of the wait staff, loose leaf papers found lying around, to napkins, (both soiled and clean), Tom left his mark wherever he went. Tom never stopped drawing or indulging in his other passion, photography. Tom took thousands of pictures, but rarely was captured in one. If you had a nickel for every time he pleaded for "just one more" picture, you'd be rich beyond belief.
If his artistic talent was his "Ying", his "Yang" was his sometimes dubious but always hilarious sense of humor. You never knew what he was going to say next, but you knew that whatever it was, it would be memorable. He was a story teller like no other, and could spin a yarn a country mile. Maybe it was because he was born Gaetano Joseph but went his whole life legally as Thomas Carl, that he found it so easily to become a different person, waxing poetic about his life as a doctor or demonstrating with a Parmesan cheese shaker, how it was aliens that actually attacked Pearl Harbor. He terrorized family, friends and even waitresses with tall tales, his face a mask of sincerity, until he let them in on the joke with a practiced wink and a smile.
As effortless as his humor was, his work ethic was the polar opposite. Tom worked tirelessly to provide for his family, sometimes missing school functions and games in order to meet a deadline. Often Tom would leave before the sun broke over the horizon in the morning and returned long after the stars began to shine at night. That all changed when he looked into the eyes of his first grandchild. His dedication to them was unparalleled. Each one had a special joke, nickname or unique ritual that they shared with Tom, creating an unbreakable bond that was beautiful as it was everlasting.
When he wasn't working, family trips were never planned around "fun" destinations (at least according to his kids) but revolved around his love of history. Vacations included trips to Gettysburg, Cape Cod and Mount Rushmore, to name a few. Fancy hotels and resorts were traded for places in which you could feel the weight of history with every step, if not an antique store or two. Only years later could his kids look back and appreciate what a gift he gave to them. One trip they loved to make was to nearby Midway to watch hundreds of planes take off and land, but God forbid he actually had to ride in one!
Tom always had an excuse close at hand if ever