Iolanda “Vi” Costanzi was born on April 3, 1922 in Chisholm, Minnesota. She was the daughter
of Fortunato “Curly” Tiburzi and Carolina Polucci Tiburzi. She passed away peacefully on
December 27, 2020 at the Benedictine Living Center in Duluth at the College of St. Scholastica
after a brief illness. She contracted COVID 19 earlier in November of 2020 but had only mild
symptoms. Vi is survived by her son John of St. Cloud, Minnesota and Mary Goody (Keith) of
Battle Ground, Washington. Grandchildren include Meggan Draper (CJ) of Murfreesboro,
Arkansas, James Hudson of LaCenter, Washington, Elliott Hudson of Portland, Oregon, Greyson
Goody (Taly) of Palos Verdes Estate, California, and Grant Goody of Jackson, Wyoming. She was
pre-deceased by her first husband, Vincent Costanzi and her second husband, Wesley Johnston;
and a brother, Robert Tiburzi of Hibbing. She also is survived by her sister, Gena Baron of
Vi’s parents emigrated from Italy. Her grandparents, John and Mary Tiburzi, lived in the family
home as well as her uncle, Franz. When Vi began kindergarten, she could not speak English, and
her cousin Anne was constantly embarrassed by having to translate for her. She overcame this
“disability” and graduated from Chisholm High School in 1940. She attended business college.
Vi married Vincent “Jim” Costanzi in January of 1945. They had been smitten with each other
since the 6 th grade. Jim attended the Dunwoody Academy in Minneapolis, and they lived in
Minneapolis until their return to Chisholm several years later. Vi worked at Sunny Hill
Distributors as a bookkeeper. When children arrived, she became a fulltime housewife. Mary
was born in 1951 and John in 1956. Vincent passed away in 1990.
Vi married Wesley Johnston in 2009 and they resided in Chisholm until they moved to the
Benedictine Living Center. Wesley passed away in 2019.
Vi traveled the Range area working for J.C. Penny in the decorating department, fashioning
draperies and coordinating furniture fabrics for 14 years, beginning in the late-1960’s. She also
volunteered at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, was involved in the Befriender program, and was a
member of several bridge clubs. She was very athletic and was a member of several curling
teams, cross-country skied, and bowled. She excelled at many things including a 7/10 split in
bowling, a hole in one award, longest drive award, and was a long-time member of the Mesaba
Country Club. Vi loved to cook, and in 1964 she won the Regional Pillsbury Bake-off and then
flew for the first time to California to participate in the Finals. She was an avid clothing
designer, and also sewed many baptismal gowns for the Church.
Vi was a gifted joke-teller and delighted her family often with a new story – generally told with
a perfect accent. She will be sorely missed by (almost) countless cousins, nieces and nephews,
and extended family. Nothing delighted her more than a glass of wine, and a good visit with
friends or family.
Should you wish to make a donation, please consider the Benedictine “BLC Foundation.” The
care she received at the Living Center, both in the Independent and Memory Care sections was
outstanding. The family wishes to thank the Staff at the Terrace for their loving care for her this
past year, and in the last week of her life. Donations can be sent to Merry Wallin, Director, BLC
Foundation, 935 Kenwood Ave, Duluth, Minnesota 55811.
A memorial mass will be held later in the year. Masses will be said in her name at St. Joseph’s
Catholic Church in Chisholm on Sunday, January 24, 2021, Wednesday, February 10, 20201, and
Friday, March 26, 2021.
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