Jeffrey “Jeff” Morello, 71, of Elgin, passed away at home on May 23, 2019. He was born September 30, 1947 in Detroit, MI and raised by loving parents, Peter and Jessie Morello (Roush).
Jeff was a talented artist, and he spent his career as a graphic designer and art teacher. He was the consummate educator: he loved to learn and he loved to encourage others to learn. His creativity and devotion to his students helped each one of them appreciate art and experience how it could enhance their lives.
He retired from Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights in 2016 after 23 years of service teaching children, from third to 12thgrade.
Jeff was known for hosting wonderful art shows for students, complete with baked goods and musical entertainment provided by Jeff and his friends. He had recently volunteered his time teaching art to children preschool through 8thgrade at St. Lawrence Catholic School in Elgin.
With his former wife, Ellen Morello, Jeff had three wonderful children: Jennifer, Amelia, and Ian.
In later years, Jeff met the love of his life, Beth Ann Hudson, through mutual friends at The Berghoff Restaurant and Café in Chicago, and it was love at first sight. He was incredibly devoted to Beth. The two married and moved to a Victorian-style house in Elgin in 1996.
Jeff was a true renaissance man and a talented musician and professional music-maker in every way. He could play multiple instruments by ear, including the piano, accordion, harmonica, bodhran, dulcimer, concertina and harp. He never walked by the piano in his house without plunking out a tune.
Jeff was a member of many Klezmer, folk and Irish bands throughout his life, to include: the Ragged Rascals, an Irish band, Angel Band, The Wranglers and Donnybrook.
He was truly gifted at imitations and accents, which made storytelling to children particularly captivating.
On the day he passed away, he spent his afternoon sharing his passion for music, playing concertina for patrons at Café Revive in downtown Elgin. Jeff was a firm believer in the healing properties of music, and had a fondness for classical and Celtic melodies. He played classical music for his students and occasionally The Four Tops if he was in a Motown mood.
Jeff was an avid reader and book collector with a vast home and classroom library. He always had a book open in different rooms and enjoyed reading about a wide variety of topics.
Jeff had a great smile, a wonderful laugh and a wry sense of humor. He enjoyed a good pun and took pride in having a sharp wit. He had boundless energy and was always working on a project that captured his imagination.
Loved ones will remember Jeff as a gentle soul with a good heart and a warm hug. He was sensitive to the feelings of everyone around him, and responded to their needs with kindness and understanding. The old saying, “to know him is to love him” could not have been more true with Jeff. He will be remembered as a gentle and kind-hearted husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend and teacher.
He was preceded in death by his daughter Amelia Hellmer, and his parents, Peter and Jessie Morello.
Jeff is survived by his loving wife, Beth Ann Hudson; children Ian (Amy) Morello and Jennifer (John) Appelmann; stepson Rob Hudson; siblings Susan Morello and Gary Morello; and grandchildren Morgan Book-Barrett, Calvin Appelmann, Alexander and August Morello, Joseph Hellmer, Dillon and Emma Appelmann, and Lauren Hudson.
Visitation will be 5-9:00p.m. Friday June 14, 2019 at Symonds-Madison Funeral Home, 305 Park St., Elgin IL 60120. Visitation will continue 11:00a.m. until time of funeral service at Noon Saturday June 15, 2019 at Symonds-Madison Funeral Home, Rev. Paris Donehoo officiating. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to PAWS Chicago or Doctors Without Borders.
For more information call 847-741-1128 or visit www.symondsmadisonfuneralhome.com.