Sunday, June 13, 2021

Audrey Elaine Chiaverini

| June 8, 2021 7:00 AM

Audrey was born to Palmer and Helen Johnson in Elgin, Ill., on Nov. 10, 1930. She died May 5, 2021.

The family relocated to Los Angeles when Audrey was young. In L.A., Audrey worked as a waitress in Hollywood and later as a drafting engineer in Burbank. Her stories about waitressing were epic! One customer, a budding photographer, had no money for tips so left her original photos of Marilyn Monroe instead. She cherished those.

Audrey loved L.A., especially dancing to Big Swing Bands (the Paladium being a favorite spot), celebrity watching, Disneyland, being at the ocean, and raising her three kids in a multi-ethnic neighborhood of San Fernando Valley. Her voice probably still echoes in the streets there from chastising neighbors who would complain about her eldest son’s electric guitar being too loud.

In the 90s, Audrey left Burbank and moved to Troy. She made many friends here, particularly while being the door person at N.W. Music/Hot Club. She loved drives on the quiet roads here, especially if she could spot a moose. Decorating for holidays was a cherished pastime, Christmas being a favorite. Due to physical impairment, Audrey moved to the Libby Care Center and spent the last few years of her life there, once again making many friends and often being a source of comfort for them.

It is hard to sum up the life of someone who lived for 90 years. She was a woman who experienced World War II yet learned to embrace the cell phones and iPads of the digital age. She conquered driving the freeways of L.A. and even found driving on them relaxing.

She hid her true age as a teenager in order to date the handsome Italian World War II Navy vet she fell in love with (he in turn had lied about his age in order to serve). They divorced but at an advanced age he realized what he had given up and tried to win her back — it didn’t work.

She loved being a mom and a grandma; her family was her greatest source of pride. Her grandkids will always treasure her sweetness, sassiness and hugs, her ability to make them feel warm and loved, her belly laughs and a shared love for watching movies. One of the last things she said to a grandchild was, "It's all love.”

Let’s hope that those words echo!

Audrey was preceded in death by her parents; niece Kathy; nephew Jerry; daughter-in-law Christy; grandson Bill; and daughter Diana. She is survived by sons Frank (Andrea) and Bob; niece Sue; sister Betty; granddaughters Carly, Shannon and Angel; grandsons Angelo, Dominic and Nick; great-grandkids Hannah, Levi, William and Hemsley; Kathy’s husband Ray; and two special friends Pam and Kelly.

Audrey used the following verse from the book of Luke as a guiding principle and in the last few days of life recounted how her grandmother recited it to her often: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” If you want to honor her life, please perform an act of kindness for someone or make a donation to Kootenai Pets for Life. Create a positive echo.

A private family memorial will be held at a later date. Arrangements were under the care of Schnackenberg Funeral Home. Online condolences and memories may be shared by visiting