Lailoni Capozzi-Corman, best known for her work as Project HELP coordinator for the Apache Junction Unified School District, passed away on July 16, 2019, in her husband’s home state of Pennsylvania.
For nearly two decades, Lailoni dedicated herself to assisting families who were going through unfortunate times. It was a passion of hers that gave her a purpose in life.
When Lailoni took on the job as Project HELP coordinator in 1995, the school district’s social services outreach program was a relatively small endeavor, inspired by the compassion of school bus drivers who worried about the homeless students they regularly picked up on the edges of the desert where their families were camped. Lailoni networked with organizations, businesses, churches, 55+ communities and individuals across the valley, developing regular donors who would help to grow and fund the work.
In one notable example, a truck from globally-recognized clothing brand Tommy Hilfiger arrived with 3,000 brand-new clothing items, wrapped on 11 pallets. The delivery stemmed from a long-standing relationship between Lailoni and Tommy Hilfiger himself. Growing up in upstate, New York, the two became friends as teenagers, prior to Hilfiger opening his first clothing store in downtown Elmira. As adults, Lailoni worked with Hilfiger’s sister, Betsy, in the medical field, where they also became friends.
Lailoni described her mission, “I believe if a child does not have a roof over their head, warm food to eat, lights to do their homework by and up to date clothing to wear, they are not able to attend school daily and achieve and succeed in school and go on to become productive adults.”
To this day, Project HELP is 100% supported by donations.
Lailoni was born in Lackawanna, NY, on December 17, 1951, the daughter of the late Edward and Catherine M. Murphy Hart. She is survived by her husband of nearly 12 years, Steven Corman; her son, Shawn L. (Heidi) Capozzi of Apache Junction, AZ; her brothers, Edward Morgan, Lanny Morgan, Tyrone Morgan; her three grandchildren, Justin Capozzi, Jordan Capozzi, Kyrsten Capozzi; and her great granddaughter, Elizabeth Mae Capozzi.
She was a member of the Elks Lodge in Apache Junction, AZ; and also the New Seasons Christian Fellowship Church, where both her son and daughter-in-law are pastors. She loved motorcycle rides, traveling, Nascar Races and spending time with her grandchildren.
In a worthy epithet, daughter-in-law Heidi Capozzi reminisced, “When she loved, she loved hard. When she gave to others, she did so generously... and boy, could she ever cook!”
There will be a Celebration of Life Service at the New Season Christian Fellowship Church on Friday, August 16 at 5 p.m., 220 S. Delaware Dr. (at the Apache Greyhound Park), Apache Junction, AZ, 85120.
Flowers are welcome: arrangements have been made with Apache Junction Flowers to deliver all memorial orders to the church in time for the funeral. Call to order: 480-982-1851, or stop by the shop at 1075 S. Idaho Rd.
The family would also welcome memorial donations to Project HELP. Contact current Project HELP Coordinator Rosie Portugal-Brastad, 480-288-2955, to arrange a donation, or go to https://www.ajusd.org/Page/218 for more information.