Louis Romano

January 1, 1921September 30, 2013

Louis Romano Okemos, Michigan

Louis Romano, Professor Emeritus at MSU, passed away September 30, 2013 at the age of 92. He was born January 1, 1921. Louis was raised in the 3rd Ward Immigrant neighborhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from an Italian family headed by a single mom, Marie Pelligrino Romano. Louis is the last survivor of 5 siblings, Tony Romano, Joan Romano Blazevic, Robert Romano and Nina Romano Galipo. His wife Shirley preceded him in death in 2003.

Lou is survived by his daughters, Pam Dilley of East Lansing, MI and Jill Stryker of Falls Church, VA. Pam’s two sons, Brett of Cincinnati, OH and David (Erin) and their son, Colin of Holland, MI and Jill’s daughter, Kim and son, Sean.

Louis was a graduate of Lincoln High School in Milwaukee and he holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and his PhD in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1997 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Lou authored 125 children’s book and the most famous is the true story of "Gertie the Duck" who built her nest on the pilings in the Milwaukee River on Wisconsin Avenue next to Gimbels Department Store. "Gertie the Duck" is published in six languages (French, Spanish, German, Swedish, Danish and English) and has been in print for 70 years. He has had numerous professional books published including "Exploring Wisconsin" for 4th graders to use studying the state of Wisconsin.

Louis was an elementary teacher, Director of Instructional Services and then the Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Shorewood, Wisconsin. He furthered his career and became the Superintendent of the Wilmette Public Schools, north of Chicago.

He then moved to Michigan in 1966 where he became a professor at Michigan State University, College of Education in the Dept of Administration and Higher Education. He was the founder and executive director of the MAMSE-Michigan Association of Middle Schools and the Founder of the NAMSE-National Association of Middle School Educators. He was the recipient of 4 MSU Apple Awards from the College of Education.

Most importantly Lou, Uncle Louie, the jitterbug champ or Grandpa, depending on who knew him was a heck of a fun, loving, giving and all around entertainingly wonderful person. He was the guy that every girl wanted to dance with at the party. He was only “39 and holding” he would tell everyone. If he was in the room, the office, the hospital, the hallway, wherever…you knew he was there and everyone wanted to come say hi to Grandpa. He spoiled his grandkids rotten and we all loved him for it. He always seemed to do everything in style and energized everyone he touched. He never hesitated to jump up and help any of his students or his friends or associations. He’d do the work, or raise the money or whatever was needed. You couldn’t say no to uncle Louie because he’d do it anyways. If you were a lady and came to the house you’d probably get a piece of jewelry. He had good taste in rings and flowers. He appreciated Pam being not only his daughter, but also caregiver for the past ten years. She visited him, did his laundry, took him to movies, to Milwaukee where he was honored for his "Gertie the Duck" book and more. In fact, Gertie was selected to be used as the text to study all academic subjects through the arts with Sharp Presentations a nonprofit organization working with inner city children in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sharp Presentations purchased 1,000 books autographed by Lou for all second graders in the Milwaukee Public Schools. Not only his family but all of his students, colleagues, friends, acquaintances and many many more will miss him dearly. Thank you to all the wonderful caregivers at Burcham Hills Retirement Community where Dad lived during the last few years.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, October 5, 11:00 a.m. at Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, 1730 E. Grand River Ave, East Lansing. The family will receive friends on Friday from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at the chapel. Memorial contributions may be made in Lou’s memory to Faith Lutheran Church, 4215 Dobie Rd., Okemos, MI 48864 or the UWM Foundation, 1440 E. North Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202 for the benefit of the “Gertie the Duck Scholarship” or the Louis Romano Scholarship Fund – School of Education, Michigan State University, 535 Chestnut Rd, Rm 300, East Lansing, MI 48824. The family is being served by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, East Lansing. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at


  • Visitation Friday, October 4, 2013
  • Visitation Friday, October 4, 2013
  • Funeral Service Saturday, October 5, 2013

Louis Romano

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Charlene Pike

January 13, 2014

Hello Pam,
I am so sorry to learn that your dad passed away Sept. 30.

We have lost a portion of our past. But people like Lou Romano are the reason our middle level education profession thrives today -- and can look forward to a promising future." Dr. Romano was part of the golden age of middle schools. His dedication to advocating for middle level youth and those who serve them is appreciated and admired. He touched many hearts and left a glow to keep us warm. Another chapter of history closes as the middle level education world has lost a great friend and pioneer.

Take comfort in knowing that now you have a special guardian angel to watch over you.
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
It will be the little things that you will remember, the quiet moments, the smiles, the laughter. And although it may seem hard right now, it will be the memories of these small things that help to push away the pain and bring the smiles back again.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your good memories bring you comfort. We cherish the many years of memories. Our lives are richer having known Lou.

Best Regards,
Char Pike

Sharon Rushcamp

October 23, 2013

My dear Pam, we hope you take comfort from the fact that you did all you could do for your wonderful dad, you were always there to help and support him ... to the end. Truly, you were the light in his life and he loved you beyond measure. For those of us whose lives were touched by Lou ... there's a void, but warm,happy and loving memories of a man, a professor, who loved life and showed us all how to live. He has passed that gift to you Pam.

October 16, 2013

RIP Uncle Lou, I will always remember your smile and enthusiasm for life. You and my Papa, your brother Tony, were larger than life and an inspiration to me that no matter who you were or where you came from, with hard work anything is possible. Your generation truly was the greatest. I am thankful that I had such positive role models in my life when I was growing up.

Laura Widenski

October 14, 2013

Jill and Kim and Family, We are sorry for the loss of your father/grandfather. We had the pleasure of meeting him at the wedding. We remember how much he enjoyed the kids and that he gave each of them 2 signed copies of his Gertie book. One for our kids to keep and one to give to their school. We hope that you find strength in your wonderful family and comfort in the memories of the time you had with Grandpa Louie. When we visited with him during that wedding weekend it was very clear how much he loved and was proud of you.

Lori Whipp-Weaver

October 14, 2013

Pam, so sorry for your loss. You were a great daughter to your Daddy. You did so much to make his last years easier for him. It was easy to see how fond you were of one another. I will always remember your Dad on the dance floor and his great sense of adventure. Remembering you in prayer.

October 10, 2013

Hi Pam, So sorry for your loss. I remember your dad always keeping us girls in line marching up and down the street behind him to your house.
Laurie Gardner Swanson

Dennis Kois

October 8, 2013

Wow. Dr. Romano! Never had him in a class but absolutely recall his positive, upbeat personality, his accent and smile. He was " different" in a good way. Was thinking he was some type of guidance counselor, tho obit seems not to reflect that. Maybe he was guiding me. Good vibes in his memories.

Tom Swasey

October 7, 2013

Pam, Very sorry about the loss of your Dad. We will remember him fondly for his great stories and visits to our house. He always would be cheerful and make us smile. Bless his soul.

Paul Kurf

October 7, 2013

So very sorry to hear of the passing of Dr. Romano whose many kindnesses and good humor added to my early work in the College of Education at Michigan State University. He leaves such a rich legacy and one that touched and will continue to touch many.

Sally Prodoehl

October 7, 2013

IMy first meeting with Dr. Romano was at Shorewood's Lake Bluff School, beginning in 1949. I was not in his homeroom, but his presence was well known to all of us, and, even at the age of nine years (fourth grade), I realized how caring and innovative he was. A few years later I was in college studying music and he offered me a summer job teaching music at the high school, as well as directing a summer musical. As I remember it, he was so amazingly gracious and I felt so welcome, even though I was just a beginner as far as leading classes, let alone directing a musical which would be seen by the public - on the big stage at the high school. With Dr. Romano's enthusiasm behind me, all went very well. One could always feel his support.

Years later I had many conversations with him as a committee member for the SHS class of 1957 50th class reunion. Both he and his wife came, and it was such an honor to see both of them.

We will all miss him!!

Sally Prodoehl