Sally Iorillo, who owned a popular toy store on Swarthmore Avenue in the 1990s, died in June at the age of 79.
Sally was born on April 30, 1942, to Fredrick and Elizabeth Nash. She grew up on Lake Minnetonka in Wayzata, Minnesota. After graduating from Northrup Collegiate School in 1960, she traveled to Florence, Italy, to study art history at the Villa Mercedes College for Girls.
While aboard the USS Constitution, Sally met and fell in love with her future husband, Tony Iorillo. After a courtship in Europe, the couple returned to the United States and were married in her family’s Wayzata home in 1962.
After the honeymoon, Tony’s job brought them to California where they eventually settled in Pacific Palisades and raised four children: Leslie, John, Francesca and Maria.
While her children were growing up, Sally was an active volunteer in her children’s schools and extracurricular activities, eventually serving five times as a PTA and PTSA president. Her continuous presence in the Palisades public schools earned her the affectionate nickname “Pali Sally.”
In 1989, Sally led the community response to teen drunk-driving tragedies in the Palisades. Her earlier years of experience as a school leader enabled her to spearhead, coordinate and unify the efforts of parents, students, teachers, school administrators, law enforcement officers, merchants and psychologists to combat the problem directly.
In recognition of her efforts, the Palisadian-Post presented Sally with its 1989 Mother of the Year Award.
That same year, as an empty nester, Sally opened Palisades Playthings, a charming toy store on Swarthmore (close to Mort’s Deli), which she ran with dedication and hard work. On Christmas Eve, for example, she delivered toys to various Palisades homes.
In 2000, Sally sold the toy store in order to spend time with her grandchildren and travel the world with family and friends, including special trips with each grandchild.
On her last day at Palisades Playthings, Sally received more than a dozen bouquets from loyal customers. One young fan wrote a note saying, “Thank you for being there, because you’ve been there since I’ve been six months old.”
Sally survived breast cancer in 2003, but then faced a second bout of cancer, this time pancreatic, passing away on June 15.
Sally’s family wrote, “Her will to live was powered by the immense love she had for her family and friends. To the very end, she had enduring hope, an unfailing sense of humor and, remarkably, a smile on her face. Sally will be remembered for that beautiful smile, but most of all, she will be remembered for her generosity and kindness.”
Sally is survived by her husband, children and five grandchildren. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. If you would like to honor Sally’s life, please consider a contribution to the American Cancer Society.
(Editor’s note: Iorillo saved the Pascoe family Christmas one year. Believing remodeling contractors who told us our house in the Palisades would be completed by December 1, we had given notice on our rental in West Los Angeles and then had no option but to move here with two small children, no kitchen and a partial bathroom. To make matters worse, we had invited my husband’s family of 17 to stay with us over the holiday. I realized on December 23 that I hadn’t done any Christmas shopping for my kids, so I went to Palisades Playthings. I was a wreck. But Sally not only helped select items, she wrapped them and had them delivered to our doorstep on Christmas Eve. Sally Iorillo was the angel that saved our Christmas.)