Gail Grabowski
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Gail Grabowski

Born: October 26, 1948; Chicago Heights

Died: December 24, 2020; Peoria

PERU – Gail (Cimaroli) Grabowski, 72, of Peru, passed away Thursday, December 24, 2020 at OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home in Peoria.

According to her wishes, no services will be held. Arrangements are entrusted to the Mueller Funeral Home, Peru.

Gail was born October 26, 1948 in Chicago Heights to Jeanette "Jan" (Molder) and Sam Cimaroli. They divorced, with her mother remarrying James Olson. Her parents, Jan and Jim raised her as their daughter.

Gail was a 1966 graduate of La Salle-Peru High School, 1968 graduate of Illinois Valley Community College and 1970 graduate of Northern Illinois University with a bachelor of science degree in education. She received her master of science degree in education in 1972. She married Gary Grabowski, the love of her life, in August 1977.

Gail taught language arts at Lincoln Junior High School, La Salle from August 1970 through November 1977and again from 1986-1989. She taught a year at St. Hyacinth's School, LaSalle and served as a WIN teacher in the Adult Education Center at Illinois Valley Community College. She also served as a resource teacher/teache's aide at JFK School, Spring Valley.

In addition to teaching positions, Gail worked at the News Tribune in the classified ad department, for Doug Biederstedt as secretary for his real estate office and later for his appraisal office, and as secretary to Donald Clausen, Chief of Police of the Peru Police Department.

When Gail left the workforce in 2003, she had already started on her journey for the rest of her life as a crossword puzzle constructor. She worked for a variety of crossword editors and her puzzles appeared in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Newsday, New York Times, The Crossword Club, Random House Casual Crosswords, Daily POP Crossword and other crossword entities for a total of over 1,700 crossword puzzles. Constructing was the second love of her life because she felt she was wisely using her English major in another venue other than education. To her, the "aha moment" for the solvers was what made constructing fun and why she enjoyed it so much.

Gail was an avid reader and served as a library board trustee for the Peru Public Library beginning in April of 2002 through February of 2020. She considered it her "home away from home." She and another board member were volunteers who assumed the responsibility of keeping the book sale room stocked and in order.

During the summer, Gail enjoyed working in their vegetable and herb gardens and cooking up a storm with the fresh produce. Sitting on her patio in the evening with Gary, a glass of wine, and listening to the "oldies" on Classic Hits 106 or CDs was a simple pleasure that she loved. From spring through fall, she could often be found outdoors working on their yard's landscaping or enjoying a book on the front porch.

Gail is survived by her husband, Gary.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her beloved cat, Max.

Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be directed to the Peru Public Library or Illinois Valley Animal Rescue.

The online guestbook may be viewed and remembrances shared at

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in News Tribune on Dec. 28, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Mueller Funeral Home, Peru
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3 entries
January 2, 2021
So sorry to hear of Gail’s passing .. our thoughts and
Prayers are with you at this time Gary
Jim n GEmma Lehn
Gemma Lehn
January 1, 2021
So sorry to hear of your loss of Gail .. you
Are in our thoughts and Prayers Gary
Gemma n Jim Lehn
Gemma Lehn
December 28, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, especially Gary.
Tom and Deborah Ebener
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