A local businessman and resident of Oak Brook, IL and charitable dynamo Richard Montalbano Sr. received the prestigious Joseph P. Cianci Humanitarian Award at UNICO National’s annual convention, held in Nashville on July 27th, 2019.
Richard Montalbano Sr. was born and raised in the Galewood area of Chicago, IL and then River Forest, IL. He is a 1968 graduate of St. Procopius College, present day, Benedictine University in Lisle, IL.
For over 50 years, Richard continued as the second generation owner of his family furniture manufacturing, importing, and restoration business. As a pioneer in the importation of furniture and accessories from Italy, he continued along with his sons, Rick and Mark, the manufacturing of high end solid carved wood furniture as well as hotel and contract furniture. Richard continued to diversify into furniture distribution and delivery as well as restoring and reupholstering furniture for the residential market, which has become the primary business after ceasing manufacturing in 2010. Montalbano Furniture, previously Majestic Wood Carving Company was created by his father Thomas Montalbano, Sr. in 1923.
A Knight Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Montalbano as well has been active for 54 years serving as Past Grand Knight and Past District Deputy of the Knights of Columbus and as Past Regional Director and Grand Commander of the Order of Alhambra.
He has served for nearly 40 years as the curator of the Crypt of the Saints, a shrine at Visitation Parish in Elmhurst that contains roughly 700 religious statues, icons and relics of saints and a library of more than 700 books. His lifelong devotion to the saints as protectors and intercessors also led him to author a book on the topic that lists thousands of saints and their patronages.
A past president of the Chicago West Suburban Chapter of UNICO National, Montalbano is a founding member and trustee of the Westlake Health Foundation and an advisory board member of Touch My Heart.
He is a longtime member of the Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce, Boys & Girls Club of West Cook County and Chicagoland Italian American Charitable Organization, and a lifetime member of the Italian Cultural Center, National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, Hundred Club of DuPage County and Hi Hopes of Hope University.
In 2005, he and his family raised the more than $15,000 necessary to dig water wells for the Catholic Mission of Turkana in Kenya.
Montalbano has received the Silver Palm of Jerusalem Medal from the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, Lifetime Community Service Award from the Boys and Girls Club of West Cook County, Silver Acorn Award from the Boy Scouts of America, Taking the Initiative Award from ASPIRE of Illinois, Community Leadership Award from Ray Graham Association, Man of the Year award from the Boys and Girls Club of Bellwood and Hillside, Board Director of the Year award from the Boys and Girls Club of America, Outstanding Business Man award from the Bellwood Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the Year, and International Man of the Year award from the International Biographical Center. He was inducted into the “Society of Procopians” at Illinois Benedictine College as well as the Catholic Youth Organization Club of Champions after raising over $250,000.00 for their programs
He and his family continue operating Montalbano Inc., a furniture showroom selling the last of all their locally made French provincial and solid carved wood furniture as well as restored antiques. They also continue restoring, refinishing, and reupholstering people’s quality furniture so it can continue to be passed down to the next generation! Their current location is in Broadview, IL and operates with craftspeople who have been with the business for almost 50 years and a combined experience of over 300 years.
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