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Barbaro Children Follow in Their Parents' Footsteps

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

by Owens Media, Inc.

for Orland/Homer Neighbors Magazine

Photos by Scott Duff

ORLAND PARK, IL (June, 2022) - It has been said that a child may choose the same occupation as a parent but the odds of two children following the career choices of both parents might be considered unusual – unless you’re a member of the Barbaro family of Orland Park.

Joseph and Mary (Kazanecki) Barbaro met in high school when Joe went to Hubbard High School and Mary went to Curie, both on the southwest side of Chicago. They married in 1982 and will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary in September. The Barbaros have two daughters, Christina, 32, and Deanna, 29.

Both girls graduated from Bradley University and have followed in their parents’ footsteps. Christina is a REALTOR ® with Keller Williams Preferred Realty and Deanna is an attorney.

Of his daughters’ chosen career paths, Joe Barbaro said, “We’ve always had that in our family. My uncle, Frank Barbaro, was a judge and he inspired me to go into law.” Frank Barbaro’s brother was the late Orland Fire Protection District Trustee Joe Barbaro.

A graduate of John Marshall Law School, Joe Barbaro is a criminal defense and real estate attorney with offices in Palos Hills. He began his legal career working in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

In 1991, the Barbaro family moved to Maui, Hawaii where Joe served as a deputy prosecuting attorney for Maui County.

“During our time there, my dad became ill with thyroid cancer,” Christina recalled. “My parents learned that an already difficult situation is more difficult when your support network is nearly 4500 miles away. Although the people of Hawaii really showed our family the Aloha Spirit while we were there my parents decided to return to Illinois where they planted roots in Orland Park.”

When the Barbaros returned to the Chicago area in 1995, Joe opened his private law practice which has since grown to two full time administrators and two associate attorneys, the newest of which is his daughter, Deanna, who joined the firm in 2021.

In 2014, Joe Barbaro was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer, Multiple Myeloma.

“Over the years, my dad has volunteered as a resource for newly diagnosed patients,” Christina said. “He often works with the hospital to connect with new patients, share his story and how things went for him in hopes they can feel more comfortable and informed in their own treatment decisions.”

With the help of his medical team at the University of Chicago, his employees, family and friends, Joe has been in remission since 2017 and the Barbaro Law Group has flourished.

After college, Christina Barbaro worked in private country and yacht clubs throughout Chicago, marketing and selling meeting and event spaces for corporate and social events.

“Christina was working and I said to her, ‘This might be a good fit’,” referring to a potential career in real estate,” Joe said. He added, “She took the class and hit the ground running,” the proud dad said smiling.

“I’ve worked in sales my whole life and recognized Christina’s ability to connect with people,” Mary Barbaro said. “Our kids’ occupations show the influence we have had on them.

“I’ve enjoyed watching this unfold. It’s easy for kids to take the wrong road. Luckily, ours have stayed on track and they’re both great kids,” Joe Barbaro said.

Echoing her husband’s sentiments, Mary Barbaro said, “We’ve always taught the girls that being nice, kind, and honest goes a long way. We both worked hard to make sure our daughters were respectful people.”

“My mom’s prior real estate career and my d’s knowledge of the transactions played a huge factor in my early success,” Christina said.

Christina Barbaro has been an associate with Keller Williams Preferred Realty in Orland Park for the past four years.

Deanna Barbaro earned a business degree at Bradley and applied to law school during her senior year. She was a summer employee in her dad’s office during college and enjoyed the fast paced environment.

“I did everything from cleaning out the files in the basement for shredding to answering phones. I think I’ve done just about every job possible at the Barbaro Law Group,” she recalled.

During law school, Deanna Barbaro completed an internship at the Maui County Prosecutor’s Office.

“I was able to work on a murder case that was up on appeal that my dad had tried in the 90s,” she recalled, adding, “I remember reading through the trial transcript and laughing at my dad’s quick-witted arguments.”

Deanna Barbaro graduated law school in May, 2018 and followed her father’s career path by becoming an assistant state’s attorney in DuPage County.

“After three years, I received the offer I could not refuse and left the state’s attorney’s office to join my dad at The Barbaro Law Group in November, 2021,” Deanna said.

“I really enjoy working with my dad and have learned so much about the real estate market and transactional law as a whole,” Deanna said. “The main difference between practicing criminal law and real estate law is that people are much happier in real estate law,” she said smiling. “It’s a joy to help people attain their dreams and become homeowners.”

Deanna and her husband, Jonathan Bucki, live in Palos Heights.

“Getting to work separately but together with them on our mutual business transactions has been a blast,” Christina said, smiling as she added, “If I had a dollar for every time someone told me my dad is a great guy…”

Deanna added, “Most importantly, it's been a joy to work alongside my family and I realize every day that I am lucky to be surrounded by them and learning from them every day.”

Do you know someone with an interesting story to share in Orland Park, Homer Glen or Tinley Park? Let us know! Send story suggestions to

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