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Sally A. Lacona

1926 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Sally A. Lacona Obituary
Sally A. Lacona

Des Moines - Sally Lacona, 91, of Des Moines, wife of longtime restaurateur and community benefactor Noah Lacona, got her first taste of Heaven on Sunday, May 13, 2018. Funeral services will be at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, 2018, at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines, followed by burial at Glendale Cemetery, also in Des Moines.

Born Sally Cooper on August 11, 1926, in Des Moines, Sally married the love of her life, Noah L. Lacona, on June 14, 1942, and they set up their first household in San Francisco, a city they both loved, before settling back in Des Moines to raise their family. They were the proud and loving parents of five children: Christine, James, Anntoinette, Teresa, and Bernadette.

Beginning in 1946, Sally supported the founding and growth of the family restaurant, Noah's Ark Ristorante, which remains a Des Moines landmark. She focused most on her role as loving wife and mother, but she took great pride in the success of the restaurant, and her touch was evident throughout.

In her own right, Sally was a talented organizer and leader in local philanthropic organizations. In 1961, she helped found the Dowling High School Pancake Breakfast that grew from the "old Dowling cafeteria" to Veterans Memorial Auditorium, and then to the Iowa State Fairgrounds. She was involved in the Holy Trinity Church Rosary Society and the Des Moines Junior League, and served as a Brownie troop Leader. She was a faithful member of the Sacred Heart Rosary Society and was also a consistent presence at her children's school events, rolling up her sleeves and helping in any way she could.

In her later years, Sally was a member of Iowa Questers, leading efforts to preserve and restore antiques and historic buildings and landmarks. She dearly loved antiques and enjoyed teaching others to appreciate them. She also was a talented oil painter, golfer, and Bridge player, and a voracious reader.

Sally instilled a sense of adventure in her family, encouraging Noah to start auto-racing and encouraging his hobby. She loved traveling with her children and friends and was known for her sharp sense of humor. Her children recall that although Sally loved chocolate, she refused to eat chocolate bunnies for fear "the bunny would die" - a reference to an old process for determining pregnancy, as she believed five children were plenty! She also indulged a running joke with her brother by tying a live goat to his flagpole.

Sally loved to shop and barter. While bartering on a beach in Mexico for tablecloths and silver jewelry one day long ago, Sally realized she didn't have any money with her. She sent one of her daughters back to the hotel to retrieve money she had stashed in a suitcase. In later years, Sally still loved to recall the look on the merchant's face when Sally's daughter dragged out the whole suitcase - making the man think it was his lucky day and he was being given an entire suitcase filled with money!

Those left to laugh, cry, and cherish Sally's memory include her children: Christine (Charles) Acri; James (Norabeth) Lacona of West Des Moines; Anntoinette "Annie" (Richard) Erickson of Kansas City, Missouri; and Teresa Lacona of San Francisco; her grandchildren, Kara (Anthony) Palladino, Jacob (Michelle) Acri, Breanna Acri, Tiffany (Steve) Lacona-Mobley, James Lacona II, Sarah Erickson, and Noah (Lindsay) Erickson; 15 great-grandchildren: Chelsea Lacona; Lily, Emma, Anthony, Mary, Katie and Michael Palladino; Elayna, Emoree, Evelyn and Aria Erickson; and Amy, Eric, Gianna and Maxwell Acri; three sisters-in-law: Dorothy, Rosemary, and Margaret Lacona; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by Noah Lacona, her husband of 75 years; and by their youngest daughter, Bernadette Lacona-Riley.

Visitation will take place from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15, at Iles Dunn's Chapel in Des Moines, concluding with a 7:00 rosary and vigil service. Memorial contributions may be directed to Operation Smile, which provides resources to children born with cleft lips and cleft palates. To donate in Sally's honor, please visit, or call 1-888-OPSMILE.
Published in Des Moines Register on May 15, 2018
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