“Always smiling” is how people described Sally Iorillo. She loved life and lived it with joy and passion … and a little bit of mischief. In addition to her playful sense of humor, the Palisadian-Post’s 1989 Mother of the Year was known for her active involvement and spirited devotion to her family, community and beloved toy store, Palisades Playthings.
Surrounded by the love of her family, Sally died peacefully on June 15, 2021. She was 79. Sally leaves behind a beautiful legacy of strength and courage through her loving husband and children, successful business, community leadership and countless friends. Always grateful for another year of life, Sally celebrated her “best birthday ever” in April 2021. Sally is survived by her husband, four children and five grandchildren.
Sally Marie Nash was born on April 30, 1942, to Fredrick Vanderhoef Nash and Elizabeth Strout Nash. She grew up on Lake Minnetonka in Wayzata, Minnesota. After graduating from Northrup Collegiate School in 1960, Sally boarded the USS Constitution and traveled to Florence, Italy, to study art history at the Villa Mercedes College for Girls.
It was on this voyage that she met and fell in love with her future husband, Tony Iorillo. After a fairytale year of courtship in Europe, the couple returned to the United States where they were married in her family’s Wayzata home in 1962. After their honeymoon, Tony’s job brought them to California where they eventually settled in Pacific Palisades to raise their 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, and eventually took on leadership roles as a five-time PTA and PTSA president. Her continuous presence in the Palisades schools and local teams earned her the affectionate nickname “Pali Sally.” (She loved it.)
Later as an empty nester, Sally pursued a new role as a business owner of Palisades Playthings, a charming toy store on Swarthmore Avenue. For 15 successful years, “Sally Claus” served customers with her signature smile, even delivering toys to Palisades homes on Christmas Eve.
Sally later sold the beloved toy store to spend time with her grandchildren and travel the world. Her adventurous spirit took her around the globe with family and friends, including special trips with each grandchild.
In 1989, 47-year-old Sally took on another important leadership role: leading the community response to the teen drunk driving tragedies in the Palisades. Her earlier years of experience as a community 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 head-on.
Additionally, she skillfully represented the Palisades community before an eager national media and established that Palisades parents were working diligently to rectify the issues. When presenting her with the Mother of the Year Award, the Palisadian-Post confirmed what everybody already knew: that Sally made the community proud.
Sally survived breast cancer in 2003 and used her triumph to face a second bout with cancer, this time pancreatic cancer. 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 worked hard to stay in touch with friends, old and new, through social media. As a result, she will be greatly missed by a large group of extended Iorillo and Nash families, as well as Northrup, Hughes Aircraft and Palisades friends.
A celebration honoring Sally’s life will be planned at a later date. If you would like to honor Sally’s life, please consider a contribution to American Cancer Society.
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