John and Anita Casazza

Legacy Leaders: John and Anita Casazza

John and Anita Casazza

Illinois

Gift Type: Charitable Gift Annuity

John just celebrated his 95th birthday, surrounded by family and friends. His wife, Anita, planned a beautiful party with over 60 attendees. Their love for each other is evident the moment that you meet this couple. In lieu of gifts the Casazzas encouraged guests to bring canned food for a local homeless shelter – just one example of their generosity and ways they give back to the suburban Chicago community.

John and Anita Casazza have been married for 22 years. Anita was working as a bookkeeper in a building where John had been in business for 50 years. He’d sold his company a number of years earlier to help care for his first wife, Olive, who had been diagnosed with colon cancer and later succumbed to the disease. When John called about the rent on the building, he spoke to Anita, and the rest – as they say – is history.

The Casazzas home in Oak Brook, Illinois is a reflection of their travels around the world, Anita’s love of cooking and John’s “love of stocks.” They are a couple that is grateful to be alive, against all odds.

Anita is a survivor of breast cancer. John had angioplasty on two arteries, followed by a lifesaving quadruple bypass surgery several years later. They now go to cardiac rehab together every week and John says he “loves it.” Anita goes to support John and because it’s a great exercise program.

Heart disease is the number one killer of all Americans and the Casazzas, like so many families, were touched very deeply by this disease. They believe that John is alive today due to the past research funded by the American Heart Association and are thankful to the donors that made it possible. They knew they wanted to include the American Heart Association in their will. However, since “we hope to have many more years,” John says they decided early on in their marriage to open some charitable gift annuities. “We wanted to go ahead and give the money so they can use it now.” Their donations are earmarked to fund research - saving lives long into the future.

John would recommend charitable gift annuities to anyone. He says that “charitable gift annuities are a good business decision: tax advantages and a steady income that you can count on for the rest of your life. They provide a good return on your money.”

John attributes his longevity to “working hard, playing hard, eating good and having a young wife” [Anita is 77] who keeps him going.

He also thinks that “Everyone should give back a little of what they’ve been given.” That’s certainly something that the Casazzas have been doing for many years.

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