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Mona Costello, U.S. Army Veteran: 1952-2012

The first woman assigned to NATO HQ for southern Europe's land forces, Mona Costello served the Army with distinction in many capacities. Visitation will be Sunday and funeral services will be Monday in New Lenox.

Mona Elizabeth Costello, nee Boone — an accomplished U.S. Army veteran — died Oct. 9, 2012. She will be laid to rest at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood on Monday after a funeral Mass at St. Jude Catholic Church in New Lenox.

Family will receive friends at the  on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 from 2 to 7 p.m. Funeral Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 with prayers at 9:30 a.m. to St. Jude Catholic Church, New Lenox for Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. Interment Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood, IL.

She was born in Detroit on Sept. 23, 1952, to George and Joyce (Closson) Boone. She grew up in the Detroit area, graduating from Bloomfield Hills/Andover High School in 1970 and subsequently attending Central Michigan University.

She enlisted in the United States Army in April 1974 and was the first female military member of any nationality assigned to NATO Headquarters for Land Forces in Southern Europe, in Verona, Italy. While attending Italian language training at the Defense Language Institute, Presidio of Monterey, CA, from which she graduated as the distinguished graduate of her class and winner of the Italian Consul General in San Francisco Book Award, she met a young first lieutenant named Tom Costello. Their friendship grew into something stronger when they were stationed in Italy, and she became his wife on July 23, 1977.

Their married life in the Army took them to a variety of posts in the U.S., in Louisiana, Illinois, North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, New York and Washington, D.C. They also served with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in Damascus, Syria, and Nahariya, Israel, and at the U. S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain.

After Tom's retirement in 2002, they moved to the Kansas City area, where they established their home in Lansing, KS. After finishing her own military career and becoming an Army wife, she soon became an Army mother, to son Thomas J. Costello III, born in 1979. Throughout the years, she routinely served as mother and father during her husband's deployments, but she exercised her own outstanding leadership and generosity of time and spirit everywhere they served.

Mona began as a Red Cross volunteer at Fort Polk, LA, their first posting as an Army family and continued her Red Cross service over the years, eventually serving as the Red Cross Station Chairperson at Fort Sill, OK, for which she received the prestigious Clara Barton Award from the American Red Cross.

She was the leading lady and Family Support Group leader multiple times, at the battery, battalion and brigade levels. During Tom's deployment for Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, she provided outstanding leadership for some 425 families and ultimately represented the U. S. Army to the spouses of the attaché corps in Washington as the unofficial hostess and spouse group leader for the Army Foreign Liaison Director at Headquarters, Department of the Army when Tom served as its director.

She was twice President of Officers' Wives Clubs at the installation level, at Fort Drum, NY, and at Fort Campbell, KY. She served in a wide variety of other leadership positions in Officers' Wives Clubs, and as a volunteer English as a Second Language mentor and coach for the Leavenworth, KS public schools.

While serving on active duty, her accomplishments with NATO were recognized with the Joint Service Commendation Award and her later leadership efforts were recognized with a myriad of awards, including The Commander's Award for Civilian Service at Fort Campbell, KY, and the Helping Hand Award at Fort Sill, OK.

Most recently residing in Lansing, KS, she is survived by her husband, Tom; son, Thomas J. Costello III (Stacey); grand-daughter, Lauren Anne Costello; brother, Robert C. "Kip" Boone (Sally); nephew, Joshua Boone; and her and Tom's two rescue beagles, Charlotte and Cocoa. She will be sorely missed by all of them.

More information can be read at the Kurtz Memorial Chapel website.

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