Leah Campanella Born December 5, 1919, in Detroit, MI, to immigrant parents David and Rose Ourlicht. Died peacefully on September 11, 2013, in Austin, TX. Leah grew up in Brooklyn and the Bronx, NY. Her parents were among the founders of the United Workers Cooperative Colony, "The Coops," in the Bronx, documented in the film "At Home in Utopia" where she grew up. Leah was the first in her family to attend college, the University of Iowa and Columbia University School of Social Work. As a social worker Leah organized for better working conditions, civil rights, and health care. She married the artist Vincent Campanella in New York in 1945. The couple moved to Kansas City, Missouri, in 1949 where they raised a family. Leah worked for Spofford Home for Children in Kansas City and later for New York Association for New Americans where she served as union steward for AFSCME. She retired from social work at age 78. Leah was beloved by her brother, Boris Ourlicht of Great Neck, NY, her sister, Shulamith Miller (d. 2007), her husband Vincent (d. 2001), her children and their spouses, Tura Campanella Cook and Gene Cook of Austin, TX, and David and Joanne Campanella of Sudbury, MA; grandchildren Roy Cook, David Cook, Alex Campanella, Winn Cook, Sara Rose Campanella, Margaret Cook; and cousins, coworkers and friends. The family wishes to thank the caring staff of Arden Courts Dementia Care Assisted Living, Odyssey Hospice, and Senior Sitters. The family plans a private ceremony. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Our House, Shelter for Working Homeless http://www.ourhouseshelter.org or the Center Against Domestic Violence http://www.cadvny.org Both charities are directed by members of Leah's extended family and exemplify her life work to elevate the human condition.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Sept. 22, 2013