Rachel L. Rambo, nee LeCornu

Deceased: August 28, 2014

Service Information:

Memorial Visitation: Saturday, October 4, 10am
Memorial Service: 11am
Interment: Private


Rachel Rambo, born in Greenfield, TN, October 30, 1917, passed away August 28, 2014. She was the youngest of five children born to Minnie and Willie LeCornu. Her father died when she was two years old, and she was raised on the family farm by her mother, along with her brother, sisters and the occasional help of Old Tom, the family farm hand who made a great impression on young Rachel.

At age 19, she married Denova Rambo and moved to Chicago. The couple settled in the Roscoe Village neighborhood where they raised their children Patricia and Daniel. During World War II, their apartment served as a mini USO as Rachel hosted four brothers-in-laws and a sister-in-law who served in the war as well as many other relatives and friends from Tennessee.

Rachel worked at Appleton Electric from 1950 until 1978. Encouraged by her son, she enrolled in night school at Lakeview High School when she was 42 years old and completed her high school education. She graduated in 1963 and went on to earn an Associate’s degree from Wright Junior College.

Windowed in 1968, Rachel spent the 1970s working at Appleton, enjoying time with her grandchildren, Mia and Mel Jiganti. She also volunteered at Children's Memorial Hospital and the Lincoln Park Zoo, and traveled throughout Europe, the Galapagos Islands and across the United States. In 1978 she decided to complete her undergraduate degree, attending the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point where she majored in Sociology and continued her volunteer activities delivering Meals on Wheels. In the spring of her senior year, she studied abroad in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She graduated in 1980 and returned to Chicago. In 1981, she embarked on an additional semester abroad, this time in Krakow, Poland. While she was in Krakow, change came to Poland resulting in the declaration of martial law mere days before her planned return to the States. She took these events in stride and described her experience as fascinating. In the spring of 1982 she spent another semester abroad, this time in Madrid, Spain. She continued her travel adventures during the 1980s visiting Alaska, the United Kingdom, Israel, Egypt and Kenya as well as traveling to South America by steamer ship.

In 1982 she moved to Winona, MN, and volunteered at the local historical society, continued delivering Meals on Wheels and taught English to the Hmong population through a church project. Still she found time to be an active grandmother to her son Daniel's seven step-children. (Continued below)


In 1987, at age 70, she entered the Peace Corps and was stationed in the Philippines. Upon her return she resettled in Chicago and, in the summers, served as an usher at Wrigley Field for the next ten years. She also continued her travels, including an 80th birthday trip to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji with her daughter Patricia. Her love of learning also continued, and at age 83 she attended Elder Hostel programs in Belize and Costa Rica.

In 2005, she moved to Mayville, Wisconsin to spend more time with her son, Daniel. While residing in Mayville she enjoyed making friends with her new neighbors, reading and spending time with her beloved cat, Toonsis. In 2007 she again returned to Chicago.

Rachel is survived by her son, Daniel Rambo, daughter, Patricia Jiganti, granddaughter Mia Jiganti (Timothy Mullin), grandson Mel Jiganti (Jennifer Keegan), three great grandsons, a great granddaughter, seven step-grandchildren and 19 step great grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers memorials to the Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60614, http://www.lpzoo.org/ appreciated. Memorial visitation October 4, 10:00 a.m., service 11:00 a.m. Lakeview Funeral Home 1458 W. Belmont Ave. Chicago, IL 60657. For info 773-472-6300 or http://www.lakeviewfuneralhome.com