Diocesan Education Leader, Margo Shifo, Dies
July 20, 2017

ROCKFORD—Margo Jean Shifo, 65, long-time education leader in the Rockford Diocese, died July 11, 2017, at Serenity Home and Hospice in Oregon.

She had faced a long illness with dignity, grace and courage.

She was born April 23, 1952, in Rockford, the daughter of Frank and Margaret (Salamone) Shifo.

Shifo graduated from Rockford East High School in 1970 and from Northern Illinois University in 1974 with a degree in education. She was a member of Chi Omega Sorority.

Later she obtained a master’s degree in education and administration from National Lewis University.
She dedicated her life to Catholic education. Shifo, who had served the diocese since 1974, retired effective April 1.

She began her teaching career in the Diocese of Rockford  at St. Patrick School in Rockford, where she spent 17 years and served as principal for four years. She was then assigned to St. James School in Rockford as principal for 10 years.

Shifo became principal at St. Edward School in Rockford for the next five years.

She concluded her career in Catholic education as an assistant superintendent of Rockford Diocesan Schools.

During her long career she touched many lives and always enjoyed hearing of past student’s successes. She particularly enjoyed teaching the children of former students in her classrooms.

“There will be many things that we will miss about Shifo,” wrote Michael Kagan, diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools in a memo.

“But in particular,” he said, “we will miss her love of children; her dedication to promoting strong and vibrant Catholic schools; and her vast knowledge of best practices in education.”

The March 30 memo went to high school and elementary principals and pastors with schools.

Fighting cancer derailed her plans to make it to 45 years of service.

Shifo was a long time member of Holy Family Parish in Rockford.

She also served as president of Junior League of Rockford and was a board member of the Rockford Red Cross.

Shifo had a quick wit, an optimistic outlook and a wonderful sense of humor that remained until her death, family members recalled.

Family and friends were everything to Shifo, especially her nieces and nephews. Her family will cherish the memories they created with her forever.

 She is survived by her brother, Thomas (Karen) Shifo of Belvidere; nephew, David Shifo of Streamwood; niece, Jennifer (James) McHale of Dublin, Ohio; great-niece, Kaitlyn McHale; great-nephews, James McHale and William McHale; and numerous cousins.

She is preceded in death by her parents.

Visitation was held at Holy Family Parish Thursday, July 13 and before her funeral Mass July 14, 2017.  

Father David Beauvais was celebrant at the funeral Mass at Holy Family. Burial was in Calvary Catholic Cemetery.

The family has established the Margo J. Shifo Memorial for deserving students at Boylan Central Catholic High School in Rockford. Gifts may be sent to the Advancement Office, Boylan Catholic High School, 4000 St. Francis Dr., Rockford, IL 61103.