Dena Marie Bussa passed away on March 10 in Janesville, Wisconsin at age 104. A longtime resident of Ladd, Illinois, she was the sixth of eight children of Armando and Maria (Guidi) Lanuti. Her parents immigrated in the early 1900s from Porretta Terma, Italy.
Visitation will be Thursday, April 13, at Hurst Funeral Home in Ladd, Illinois, from 4:00 to 7:30 PM. The funeral will be Friday morning at 10:30 AM at Holy Trinity Church in Cherry starting with a visitation from 9:30 to 10:30 AM with burial in the Ladd Cemetery. The family requests in lieu of flowers, donations be made either to St. John Vianney Parish or Agrace Hospice, both in Janesville, WI.
Dena married John Bussa on June 3, 1944, in Ladd, Illinois, at St. Benedict’s Church. They had three sons: Dr. John (Marilyn) of Janesville, Wisconsin, Robert (Mary O’Reilly) of Beaufort, South Carolina, and Tom (Maria) of Los Alamitos, California. They assisted in raising their nephew as their 4th son, Dr. Martin (Denise) Pricco, of Modesto, California. They have 8 grandchildren: Julie (Patrick) Lyons, David (Johanna) Bussa, Janine Bussa (Dave Barkin), Margaret (Andrew) Iverson, Andrew (Tess) Bussa, John Bussa, Anthony Bussa, and Dena Bussa; and 10 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, parents, 5 brothers, Guildo, Geno, Hugo, Joseph, and Frank and two sisters Nerina and Emma (Pricco).
Dena was active with Lanuti’s Tavern in Ladd most of her life. Lanuti’s opened in 1907 as a shot-and-a-beer saloon where miners and others could obtain free lunches. It was truly a family affair as the family lived in the back of the saloon, where Dena was born, before moving into a house a block away. After WW II, they expanded Lanuti’s and introduced a full menu. Dena, Emma, and Geno ran Lanuti’s until Emma passed in 1963, and Geno passed in 1973. From 1973 – 2009, Dena and John operatedLanuti’s. Famous for its fried chicken, Italian dishes, and fish, it was also the largest seller of fried turtle in Illinois. People from all over North Central Illinois would stop in for the good food, great times and to enjoy friendships.
Dena spent her last years in Huntington Place in Janesville, Wisconsin. When asked the secret to a long life, she said “You need to continue to use it or else you will lose it.”
Dena’s family would like to extend their appreciation to her physicians, the staff at Huntington Place, and the staff of Agrace Hospice for the wonderful and compassionate care provided to her.
Pallbearers and readers will be her grandchildren.
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