Obituary of Samuel John Vanella
Lifelong Corning resident, Samuel J. Vanella passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, April 15 at the age of 92 surrounded by his loving daughters. He was born in Corning, California on June 20, 1930, to Frank and Marianna Vanella. His parents immigrated from Italy and had seven children; Sam was the youngest and last survivor. Sam attended Corning High School and graduated in 1948. He married the love of his life, Frances Rodriques, on January 20th, 1952, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Red Bluff.
Sam bought his first olive orchard while still in high school at the age of 17. Growing olives was his lifelong passion from which he never retired. Besides his own orchards, he managed property for several other growers who became like family to him. He worked for Oberti Olives and served as a field representative for Tri Valley Growers from 1966-1996 where he managed their olive receiving station in Corning. Sam served many years on the California Olive Committee promoting California Ripe Olives and was also a 62-year member of the Elks Lodge #1250.
Along with his parents, he grew apricots and peaches. Many family and community members have fond memories of spending the summer under the fig trees cutting fruit for drying. He always had a love of animals, raising sheep and cattle.
Sam was a gifted athlete who participated in football, basketball, and baseball throughout high school. As an adult, he played city league softball and basketball. He was involved in the founding of Corning Little League and coached many teams. Sam was an avid fan of the LA Dodgers and LA Rams.
Sam supported his children and grandchildren in all their life endeavors, especially education and sports. Visits and phone calls from family and friends were the highlight of his days.
Survivors include his four daughters; Linda Menefee (Steve) and Kathy White (Doug) of Corning, Janet Ford (Mike) of Chico, and Susan Fulle (Kurt) of Yorba Linda; Grandchildren: Melissa Ray, Monica Harrigan, Mitchell Murphy, Scott Menefee, Katie Jorgensen, Jeff White, Julie White, Greg Ford, Matt Ford, Marie Raff, Kurt Fulle, and Christopher Fulle; 21 great grandchildren, one great great grandson, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death 28 years ago by his wife Frances, his parents, and his siblings Madeline Bell, Jack Vanella, Dorothy Spaletta, Genevieve Rolfsness, Anthony Vanella, and Joseph Vanella.
There will be a rosary Wednesday, May 17th at 7pm at the Brusie Funeral Home in Chico. A Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, May 18th at 10am at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Chico with a reception at noon at Lakeside Pavilion California Park.
Memorial contributions may be made to Corning Little League PO Box 74, Corning, CA 96021 or Butte Home Health & Hospice at 10 Constitution Drive, Chico, CA 95973.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Samuel Vanella , please visit Tribute Store