Denise Cesario passed away peacefully after a long battle with cancer on November 26th, 2022. She left behind a hell of a lot of stuff for her daughters to go through, most of which they have no idea what to do with. So if you're looking for a large flamingo walking stick, an obscene amount of slightly snazzy Christmas ornaments, every known color of turtle neck dickies, or any size of serving platter, Denise was your kind of lady and she would want to share her stash with you. Please wait an appropriate amount of time before submitting your requests to the family. Tomorrow would be fine.
Much like the cannon she was shot out of during her stint in the circus, Denise had an energy that anybody who knew her would say was hard to ignore and captured everyone's attention. Although she may have some wild stories from her early years, the trajectory of her life took a much different direction later on. On October 15, 1988 she married her soul mate, Kenn, and became his better half (he agrees, just ask him). They had 2 daughters, Jacqueline and Jodee, who live relatively ordinary Midwestern lives.
Denise loved to cook and used her creativity to come up with new and delicious dishes (like Chicken Denise), although her baking skills left much to be desired. She was always full of ideas and she and her sisters even created a new board game that they took to a Vegas convention. Denise was the ultimate Pinterest mom before Pinterest was a thing, always crafting and creating. Her daughters are both sufficiently traumatized from having to wear their mothers handmade iron-on custom sweatshirts. And strangely enough, her shellacked bread baskets never took off like she thought they would.
Denise's passions didn't end with her creative endeavors. Whatever she did, she did with all her heart. She loved hard and lived loud. Next to her family, one of the things she was most proud of was her career as McLean County's Director of Elections. Her work truly allowed her to shine in all her greatest strengths, one of which was not remembering passwords, and form her deepest friendships.
She always had a heart for those in need and passed that sense of community onto her daughters. Denise never knew a stranger and would often cause lines to back up at check out lanes because she'd be having deep conversations with the cashier, much to the chagrin of the people behind her.
At any given time, you could find her hunting for rocks to add to her collection, singing at the top of her lungs to every Rod Stewart song, spending as much time as she could with her grandkids Amélie and Escher, cuddling with her dog Bambina and likely getting distracted by anything shiny or glittery.
The family wants to say a special thank you to the medical teams who cared for Denise with a perfect balance of spunk and tenderness. For 8 years, the staff at Community Cancer Cancer walked her through every step of her journey, always with the utmost compassion. More recently, the amazing nurses, techs, doctors and hospice staff at Carle Bromenn became part of our everyday lives for almost a month.
Although Denise's name will never be memorialized in history books or enscribed on the front of a building, her memories will forever be etched into the hearts of the people who were privileged enough to know and love her. A location and date for her memorial service are still being determined and will be announced once finalized.