Heaven gained another angel when Florence “Charlie” (Amato) Kotonias returned home to her
family and her loving God on Monday, October 19, 2020, at the age of 83.
Charlie left this life just like she lived it: on her own terms. She was in her home at the LEE
Center and at peace, surrounded by the love of her daughter and son-in-law, Kim and Paul
McLaughlin; and her angel, her granddaughter Katie.
Charlie was born in the “Pigtown” neighborhood of Chisholm, Minnesota, on June 15, 1937, to
Fred and Frances (Zampillo) Amato. Since 1982, Charlie proudly reigned as “Miss Piggy” from
a part of town full of ethnic food, great families and bonds, and infinite love.
A proud full-blooded Italian, Charlie had a heart of gold and the most vibrant one-of-a-kind
personality, she lit up every room, and she loved her family fiercely and unconditionally. Charlie
saw the best in everyone. Afraid of nothing, she boldly spoke her mind, while continuing to
respect and value each person.
Charlie graduated from Chisholm High School in 1955 alongside her high school sweetheart and
the love of her life, John Kotonias. Upon graduation, Charlie began working for the Chisholm
School District as a business manager / bookkeeper, a role she would hold with great pride for
the next 38 and a half years.
Charlie and John were united in marriage on July 13, 1957, at the Immaculate Conception
Catholic Church in Hibbing. In their 45 incredible years of marriage, Charlie and John together
had a zest for life. Whether going out and dancing, spending time at their cabin on West
Sturgeon, or cheering on their girls – Kim and Katie, they enjoyed each and every day with their
close-knit family and friends. A tremendous athlete, Charlie loved to compete. Volleyball,
softball, curling, and bocce ball were among her favorite sports. Win or lose, playing cards and
trips to “the Bay” with her loved ones always brought a smile to her face.
Charlie was unbelievably strong and resilient. After losing John in 2003, she continued to
courageously and relentlessly fight COPD for nearly 18 years. Having been born, raised, and
living in the family home until 2006, Charlie relocated to Hibbing where she dearly embraced
the friends she made.
Family was at the core of who Charlie was. Proud to be their Nona and mom, Katie, Kim, and
Paul were the lights of her life, as she was of theirs. As the youngest aunt, Charlie shared a
particularly special love and closeness with each of her wonderful nieces, nephews, cousins, and
all of their spouses, children, and grandchildren.
Charlie looked forward to an eternal reunion with each loved one who preceded her in death,
including her husband; her parents; her parents-in-law; her siblings and their spouses, Nancy
“Marie” (Nick) Delouise, Patricia “Patsy” (Frank) Valentini, Vincent “Ikey” (Carmen) Amato,
Mary “Geta” (Elisio) Bartolus, Freida (Morrey) St. Lawrence, and Carmen (John) Petrack; and
her sister- and brother-in-law Helen (Chuck) Russell.
Charlie’s family thanks her LEE Center family; Gus Kriske, Marcia Fillman, and the entire
Fairview hospice team; Elizabeth Woodman, Cheryl Madrinich, the Gigliotti’s, and the whole
Recover Health team; and Charlie’s most special physician, Dr. Jan Baldwin. People mattered
more than anything to Charlie, and each of you are true blessings.
Mindful of COVID-19, family and close friends can offer their final farewells to Charlie on
Saturday, October 24, from 1:00 – 1:30 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Chisholm. Social
distancing and masks are required. A Mass will be held at 1:30 p.m., followed by interment in
the Chisholm Cemetery.
Arrangements are with the Dougherty Funeral Home of Hibbing.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Florence "Charlie" (Amato) Kotonias, please visit our floral store.