John “Papa” Delia 1941—2020
John “Papa” Delia passed to eternal life on January 4, 2020, after a brief illness. John was born in Rockford, on June 8, 1941, the youngest of four sons of Italian immigrants Francis and Frances Delia. John graduated from West High School, and worked at Piggly Wiggly, where he met the love of his life, Diana Diggs. They married and were blessed with the next loves of his life, John, Deb and Natalie. After a short time as “the milk man,” John joined the Rockford Fire Department in 1966.
John is survived by Diana, children John (Susie), Deb (special friend, Howard), and Natalie, grandchildren Katie and Joey, brothers-in-law Ron Stormont, Don (Carol) and Doran Diggs, sister-in-law Loretta (Tom) Diggs Murawski, cousin Dian Russo, numerous nieces, nephews and friends, and special family friends, Ron and Rosie Graw. Those who predeceased him include his parents, brothers Frank (Doris), Joe (Geraldine), and Angelo (Marie) Delia, a sister, Natalia, in infancy in Italy, cousins Ralph Russo and Betty (Frank) Eklund, special mother-in-law, Marie (John) Diggs, sister-in-law Donna Stormont, and brothers-in-law John, Dennis (Anne) and Darrell Diggs.

John “Papa” Delia, Firefighter
Rockford Fire Department