Leah G. Campanella

1919 - 2013
Leah Campanella was born December 5, 1919, in Detroit, MI, to immigrant parents David and Rose Ourlicht. She 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, and Margaret Cook, niece Laurie Ourlicht (d. 2010), nephew David Ourlicht and Marybeth Ourlicht, David, Christine and Sam Ourlicht of New York, NY, nephew Peter Miller and Karen Miller, Georgia and Dominik Mjartan of Little Rock, AR; and cousins, coworkers and friends.

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 on NYTimes.com from Sept. 16 to Sept. 17, 2013