1934 – 2016 TEACHER
WRITTEN BY JOANNA PANETTA MEDINA
Anna was born on February 16, 1934, in Monterey, California, to Joseph and Valentina Chiantelli. Her parents immigrated from the small town of Bozzano, Provincia di Lucca, Tuscany, Italy. She had one older brother, Oscar Chiantelli.
Anna grew up in Monterey and attended Oak Grove School, Walter Colton Junior High School and Monterey High School. The first person in her family to graduate from college, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree along with her teaching credential from San Jose State University in 1955. She later earned her Master's Degree in Education from Chapman University.
Anna met and dated Joseph R. Panetta in high school. They married after Anna graduated from college on June 25, 1955. They shared 61 years of marriage together, that bond being broken only by Anna's unexpected death on October 7, 2016. Anna and Joe had three children--Joanna P. Medina (Anastacio), Joseph C. Panetta (Julie) and John R. Panetta. Four grandchildren--Anna A. Medina (Chad), Stephen A. Medina (Jillian), Brittnie C. Panetta and Gianna V. Panetta--added to their joy. Anna was Nonni Annie to them, as well as her five great-grandchildren--Zander W. Lunt, Kyah R. Lunt, Ella R. Medina, Miles C. Medina and Theo J. Medina. Anna loved and cherished each member of her family.
Anna had a teaching career that lasted for over 35 years. She taught all grades, kindergarten through sixth, during her career with the Monterey Unified School District. Most of the time she taught at Monte Vista Elementary, but she also worked at several other schools in the district. The love she had for her students and her warmth and enthusiasm in the classroom made a difference in the lives of countless children who were touched and inspired by her. Anna’s daughter, Joanna, followed in her footsteps and became an elementary school teacher. Even after retiring, Anna continued on in education by volunteering in her daughter’s classroom.
In addition to her career in teaching Anna devoted time to many different organizations through the years. These included Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula Auxiliary, Quota Club International, Delta Kappa Gamma, Monterey County Reads, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and the California Retired Teachers Association. Anna helped develop Monterey County Youth Museum (MY Museum) and served on the boards of the Civic Club of Monterey, the Italian Catholic Federation Branch 36 and the Italian Heritage Society. She served as president and co-president of the latter for over 10 years. Her tireless devotion to all of these associations was a benefit and blessing to many in the community.
A first generation American, Anna celebrated her Italian heritage by keeping the culture and traditions alive for her family, so they could experience and remember them, too. Starting in 2002, Anna participated in planning and arrangements for what became the annual Italian Heritage Society Honoree Dinner, honoring local Italian Americans who contribute significantly to the community. As president of the IHS, she was actively involved in fundraising for an Italian American cultural center. Along with IHS co-president AnnaMarie Della Sala-Stanton, Anna helped collect, edit and publish a book of stories, Italian Fishing Families of Monterey (1stEdition), a history of the Italian American fishermen who emigrated to Monterey and helped make it the Sardine Capitol of the World. Together Anna and AnnaMarie created the Sicilian Wall exhibit and, with Bob Enea’s help, a photo exhibit of Italian fishing families at the Museum of Monterey – Stanton Center, also known
as the Monterey History & Maritime Museum. During the Festa Italia Santa Rosalia Festival, Anna could be found cooking calamari in the Italian Catholic Federation booth. She spent countless hours volunteering at the Panetta Institute lectures series.
Anna enjoyed playing bridge with her bridge club, playing Bunco, reading and traveling throughout the United States, Europe and Canada. If it was the first Saturday in June she could be found with her best friend, JoDee Krebs, who was like the sister Anna never had, colorfully decorating a table for La Merienda,
the Monterey History and Art Association’s celebration of the founding of the City of Monterey.
Her greatest joy, though, was her family. Sunday dinners for the entire family, whoever could come, were always occasions filled with great food, loud and lively conversations and abounding love.
Anna lived an exemplary life with deep faith, a strong love of God and a belief in the good of all humankind. She believed in the power of kindness and giving back to all mankind.
JoDee Krebs & Anna Panetta at La Merienda