A portrait of: Adriana LaCosta (b.1975 Oak Park, IL – d. )
Adriana LaCosta is the great-great-great granddaughter of Michael & Biddy Fagan. Adriana’s mother, Judith Francesca Gabardini (b. 1945 – d. ), who everyone calls “Jiff”, married Joseph LaCosta of Elmwood Park, IL, in 1971. They met while attending the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. She was a journalism major; he earned his degree in mechanical engineering. Adriana’s grandmother was Mary Grace Fagan (b.1911 – d. 1992) who married Lorenzo Gabardini (b. 1900 – d. 1968). He worked in the meat packinghouses at the Chicago Stockyards; she was a homemaker. In 1951 they opened an Italian Restaurant in Oak Park, called Lorenzo’s. Mary Grace was the daughter of Patrick Fagan (b. 1876 – d. 1950), a Chicago Policeman and Suzanne Tuttle, (b. 1880 – d. 1929), a schoolteacher. Patrick’s father was John Fagan (b.1851 – d. 1908), the eldest son of Michael & Biddy Fagan, and a life-long railroad man who became a locomotive engineer with the Rock Island & Pacific Railway.
Adriana grew up in Everett, Washington. Her parents relocated from the Montclare neighborhood of Chicago to the Seattle area in 1968. Her mother was a freelance writer, and her father had continued his studies and became an aeronautical engineer, taking a job with Boeing working on the first 747-100s. 1968 was also the year Adriana’s grandfather, Lorenzo, died. Unable to keep the restaurant going, the family sold the business and Adriana’s grandmother, Mary Grace, moved with the family to Everett and lived with them until she died in 1992. Adriana was very close to her grandmother and shared her fondness for singing and playing piano. Mary Grace also had an extensive collection of Irish music including books, LPs and 78s, all of which Adriana inherited when her grandmother passed away. She also inherited her grandmother’s piano, an 1884 Steinway Model K, an upright grand that had originally been purchased by John Fagan 4 generations before.
Adriana attended USC’s Annenberg School of Broadcast Communications and graduated in 1999 with a degree in broadcast journalism and aspirations of becoming an on-air reporter. While at USC she met Ryan Williams of Huntington Beach California. Ryan was a baseball standout and earned an athletic scholarship from USC and was eventually drafted by the Colorado Rockies. The couple were married in 2002 and had 3 children in 4 years, putting Adriana’s career on hold. Ryan was later traded to the Minnesota Twins and then to the Seattle Mariners. He earned his way through the minor league system and spent 4 years in Triple A as catcher for the Tacoma Rainiers when a knee injury ended his baseball career in 2010.