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Mary Tonini

Updated: Aug 16

Mary Tonini of Des Moines, Iowa, went to be with our Lord and Savior on August 10th, 2021, surrounded by her family. She was born in Des Moines, Iowa on September 20th, 1924 to Theresa (Murano) and Charles J. Caligiuri. She graduated from Lincoln High School, then married the love of her life, Mando J. Tonini in 1947. They had a beloved son together in 1950, Michael J. Tonini. In 1952 they established the Tonini Funeral Home on SW 9th Street in Des Moines, and later started the Des Moines Limousine Service. Mary was a faithful servant of the Lord, as well as a pillar of the southside community. She was known for her kindness and generosity, as well as for her excellent Italian cooking and baking. She also loved to garden, sew, and travel. Mary square danced and played basketball in her younger years, and found a love for roller coasters later in life, thanks to her grandchildren. She was the matriarch of the family, and demonstrated each day how to live a simple and virtuous life.

Mary dedicated her life to her family, as well as her community. She was a board member of the Vittoria Lodge, Italian American Women of Iowa, and St. Anthony’s Altar and Rosary Society, as well as a member of the Catholic Women’s League, Catholic Daughters of America, assisted with the Teens of Mary, and was a lifelong member of St. Anthony’s Church.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her son, as well as her six brothers, Jim (Rose) Caligiuri, Bruno (Helen) Caligiuri, Frank (Beatrice) Caligiuri, Dominic (Ilena) Caligiuri, Sam (Betty) Caligiuri, and Charles (Virginia) Caligiuri. Mary had two granddaughters, Regina “Gina” Tonini (John) Nelson and Michelle (Scott) Tigner, as well as her most precious great grandchildren Alexis Nelson, Alayna Nelson, Scotty Tigner, Braden Tigner, and Kaylee Tigner, all of Des Moines. She also had many other nieces, nephews, cousins, and other family and friends, that were very special to her. She will be greatly missed by everyone that knew this beautiful soul.

There will be a visitation held on Sunday, August 15th, 2021 from 2-4pm at Brooks Funeral Care (formerly Tonini Funeral Home) on SW 9th St., with a rosary and wake service to follow. The funeral will be at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church on Indianola Rd. on Monday, August 16th, 2021 at 10:30am, with a Christian burial to follow at Glendale Cemetery.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mary’s honor to the Italian American Cultural Center or St. Anthony’s Church.