Cherry Blossoms

Sarah "Dolly" Piccioli

April 25, 1922 ~ May 15, 2022 (age 100)


After reaching her goal of celebrating her 100th birthday April 25, Mrs. Sarah “Dolly” Piccioli died peacefully on May 15, 2022 at the Cabin Livin’ Senior Care in Hennepin where she resided the past year.

Known to generations of Mark and Granville residents simply as “Dolly” and “Aunt Dolly”, Mrs. Piccioli never met a stranger. She turned strangers and acquaintances into friends and friends into family.  Dolly was a beloved family matriarch, a welcome member of the Mark and later Granville communities, a golfer and traveler. Dolly was celebrated for her warm, happy loving charm, her open house to guests and her excellent Italian dishes. She made new friends of all ages until the day she died.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be Thursday, May 19 at 11 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Granville, IL.  Fr. Patrick DeMeulemeester will officiate.  Burial will be in Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery.

Visitation will be Wednesday, May 18 at Dysart-Cofoid Funeral Chapel, 208 N. McCoy St., Granville, IL from 5 to 8 p.m. with a Rosary at 5 p.m.  Pre-Mass visitation will be Thursday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Dysart-Cofoid funeral chapel.

Sarah Elizabeth Panizzi Piccioli was born April 25, 1922 to Adolph and Mary Theodore Panizzi in Spring Valley.

She graduated from Hall High school in 1940. Dolly was employed at Westclox during World War II where she served as an inspector of military fuses. She once stopped production after finding misaligned holes in hundreds of artillery fuses, potentially saving the lives of soldiers. She also served as bookkeeper for her father’s tavern in downtown Spring Valley.

She married Arthur Piccioli of Mark on March 13, 1943. They first met at his sister’s home in Spring Valley. They were introduced while Dolly was sitting in a cherry tree. The “Cherry Tree Romance” became part of the family lore and subject of photos and poems. There was a cherry tree in their back yard in Mark for years. They were also known for the large patch of red and black raspberries enjoyed by their grandchildren and many other Mark children. 

She joined Art in the close-knit Italian American Village of Mark for 55 years, raising four children while working side by side operating Piccioli’s Grocery store until 1979. The couple moved to Granville in 1998. Dolly served in the Granville Sacred Heart Catholic Church Altar and Rosary Society, Keys Club and the Mark Grade School Mother’s Club. The Mark Mother’s Club was known for making thousands of pounds of tortellini over the years for the Mark Homecoming Celebrations.

In retirement, Dolly became an avid and successful golfer. She won numerous trophies in her “flight” at Edgewood Golf course in McNabb. She continued to drive, both cars and golf balls, until age 97.

Dolly was the matriarch at the heart of a large extended Panizzi family, celebrating and hosting Thanksgiving with her siblings and their children starting in 1949. The Panizzi Family Thanksgiving gathering continues today attended by 50 plus family members with a fifth generation of babies.

Like so many of the “greatest generation” wives and mothers of Mark and surrounding area who grew up in the Great Depression, Dolly was an excellent cook. Her recipes created special dishes like polenta with chicken stew, hand rolled tortellini in home-made broth, spaghetti sauce, pies, her Italian rice custard called Tultha, and Italian sugar cookies called “zuccarines.”

Dolly and Art traveled in retirement, spending 22 winters in Florida and attending postmaster conventions throughout the United States. Together with a group of five local couples, they toured Italy, visiting their respective home regions “in the old country.” She continued to spend winters in Florida until she turned 97.

Sarah’s name “Dolly” was put on her as a young child because family and friends said she looked like “a little doll”.

Mrs. Piccioli is survived by three children, daughters Mrs. Rick (Sharon) Stecker of Rothschild, WI, Mrs. Kenji (Janice) Farinelli of Colorado Springs, CO, a son David (Linda Ritter) Piccioli of Springfield, IL and her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Janet (Richard) Nickle Piccioli of Champaign, IL.  Also surviving are nine grandchildren, three great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband Arthur in 2005, a son, Richard in 2008, four brothers, Serfino, John, Arthur and Adolph Jr. and a sister, Mrs. Margaret Panizzi Lorenzini.

The family would like to thank the director of Cabin Livin’ and Vitas Hospice for their kind, compassionate care especially in the last weeks of her life. Memorials may be directed to the Putnam County Community Center in Standard, IL 61363

Online Condolences may be made to her family at



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Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for Sarah "Dolly"

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May 18, 2022

5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Dysart - Cofoid Funeral Chapel
208 S. McCoy St.
Granville, IL 61326

Mass of Christian Burial
May 19, 2022

11:00 AM
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
311 Hennepin St.
Granville, IL 61326


Putnam County Community Center
P.O. Box 208, Standard IL 61363

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