Jeanne Campanelli was an extraordinary woman who touched and inspired our lives.
For more than 6 years Jeanne lived with Multiple Myeloma and its debilitating treatment, but she didn’t let the disease dull her spirit or keep her from living life to the fullest. Despite pain and chemo, Jeanne remained upbeat, never complained, and got through it all with inspiring grace and dignity. And, with the love and support of her family, especially husband Steve Campanelli and daughter Valerie Robinson, she realized her dream to take her grandkids to Europe and continued to enjoy RV camping at the ocean and in the mountains. In her last difficult months she took great joy in being surrounded by her devoted family and friends.
Minutes after receiving the blessing of her priest, Jeanne passed peacefully, with her loving family and dearest friends close by. Jeanne and her husband Steve enjoyed 40 years of marriage filled with family, great food, travel adventures, and lots of love. Favorite travel destinations included many trips to Italy (especially Florence), Sicily, and Paris. Jeanne was intensely proud of her Italian heritage and studied the Italian language just for fun. No wonder she was welcomed into the big and bustling Campanelli family!
Jeanne’s first marriage to Tom Schmid produced their beloved daughter Valerie, the mother of grandchildren Sam and Ashlee Robinson. Devoted to her grandkids, about the only time Jeanne “sat on the sidelines” was when she cheered them on at their track and la crosse events. Otherwise, she was busy building scarecrows for school competitions, baking holiday cookies, or guiding them as they filled Christmas stockings to donate to the homeless.
After graduation from Wheatland Union High School, Jeanne acquired an AA degree from Yuba College, then attended CSU Sacramento where she earned her BA and MA in English. She used those degrees to good effect when working for a time in advertising.
But Jeanne found her true career calling as an English instructor first at CSUS and finally for over 20 years at American River College, where she established the Writing Center — a major achievement that made a real difference in the lives of her students. During this time she also co-authored a book about teaching writing at the college level.
For Jeanne, the pinnacle was reached when she taught at the Los Rios Study Abroad Program in Florence, Italy — not once, but TWICE! This meant twice spending 6 months in her beloved Italy, living “like Italians” and immersing herself in the art, food, language, and culture of “La Bella Italia!” In her “spare time” during the 1980’s she and Steve owned and operated the wonderful La Scala Café. She managed to be a gracious hostess even under the toughest circumstances. People still rave about Sunday brunch on the patio!
Jeanne loved to sing the songs of the ‘30s, ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s (“I know all the lyrics!”) — especially when she and her sisters would burst into spontaneous song at family gatherings. She saw the Beatles live, TWICE! And she was mightily proud of living in San Francisco during the 1967 Summer of Love.
Jeanne was the first of four daughters. Although she was born in New York City, her Air Force family lived all over the country, and after many cross-country drives, often on the fabulous 1950’s Route 66, Jeanne was instilled with her lifelong love of travel.
In addition to her many other interests, Jeanne loved red cars, 1940s antique furniture, fragrant gardenias, Deruta ceramics, peppermint lattes, sewing, and volunteering at St. Ignatius Parish.
Surviving family includes her husband Steve, daughter Valerie, grandchildren Sam and Ashlee Robinson, sisters Elisa Zitano (David Smith), Anita Benavidez (Rick), Frances Zitano, niece Arianna Smith (Mark), and dear friends Marie Carvidi, Tom Schmid, Lia Puccinelli, the Campanelli family, and many, many more.
A scholarship will be established in her name to benefit students attending the Los Rio Study Abroad Program. Donations to the scholarship fund can be made online at https://arc.losrios.edu/give-online or by mailing a check payable to Los Rios Colleges Foundation, mailing address:
Los Rios Colleges Foundation, 1919 Spanos Court, Sacramento, CA 95825.
Please note Jeanne’s name on the check.
A Memorial Service and mass for Jeanne Campanelli will be held on Friday, August 19th at 11 am.
St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church
3235 Arden Way
Sacramento, Ca. 95825
A reception will be held immediately following the service in the Garden Room Hall next to the church. For those who are unable to attend there is a "youtube" link for a live stream of the service which can also be seen after the live service as well.