Celebrating the life of Cecelia Carus
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Cele was born October 18, 1926, to Peter and Lodovica “Victoria” (Enrietto) Venturelli. She was raised in Oglesby, Illinois, and never lost her love for the community.
Cele graduated from LaSalle-Peru Township High School during World War II when there was a shortage of nurses. Against her father’s wishes, she left home to attend St. John’s Nursing College in Springfield, Illinois. After graduating, she fulfilled her obligations to the Army Nurse Corps and returned home to work at St. Margaret’s Hospital. She loved nursing and soon trained as a nurse anesthetist. The modern field of anesthesia had only been established a decade earlier and Cele was among the first to train in this specialization.
After her anesthesia training, she returned to work at St. Mary’s Hospital in LaSalle and shortly thereafter married Dr. Earl Terry. They resided in LaSalle for a few years until Dr. Terry's untimely death of a rare paralytic disease.
Her nursing career spanned over six decades undeterred by an operable brain tumor during her training and two life-threatening auto accidents. For a period in the 1950s she was responsible for anesthesia at both St. Mary’s Hospital in LaSalle and People's Hospital in Peru (now Illinois Valley Community Hospital); and frequently Cele was the only person in the Illinois Valley area available to perform anesthesia. During this time she formed a lasting friendship with Dr. Clem Jasiek, an oral surgeon, who would fill in when Cele was unavailable. She returned to St. Margaret’s Hospital and spent the last four decades of her career there, retiring in 2006.
She was introduced to Paul Carus who made an indelible first impression, showing up in lederhosen for a boating excursion on the Illinois River. While Cele was recovering from her first auto accident he spent hours at her hospital bedside reading Greek tragedies to her. They married on September 4, 1964. Paul and Cele raised three children: Alwin (Win) from Paul's first marriage, Paul, and Peter.
Cele was an accomplished baker, avid reader of poetry and mysteries, long-time member of the Zonta women’s professional club, and a generous and caring friend, sister, aunt and grandmother. She spent her final years at home receiving excellent care by numerous very kind and compassionate caregivers.
She is survived by two sisters, Minnie Larson and Darlene Mackin; three sons; and seven grandchildren: Sam and Celine (Win and Corinne); Paul, Sophie and Luke (Paul and Tammi); and Scarlet and Madison (Pete and Christine).
Funeral services will be held at the St. Bede Abbey Worship Assembly Building at 10:30am on Saturday, October 6, 2018. In lieu of flowers or other memorials the family requests that donations be directed to the St. Margaret’s Foundation in honor of Cele’s dedication to the career she loved and the hospital she considered a second home.
The Burgess Funeral Home in LaSalle is assisting the family
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