Vicki Ann Blanchette|
Dec. 9, 1943-April 5, 2012
Resident of Aptos
Vicki Ann Blanchette passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by family after a brave six-year battle against metastatic breast cancer. Vicki was born in Richmond, Calif. to Victor and Phyllis Venturini and lived most of her life in Santa Cruz. She was a 1961 graduate of Santa Cruz High and married Don Griffin of Felton a year later. A family of three children soon followed: Ren#233;e, Jennifer, and Mark.
Vicki believed the most important part of life was time spent with her family, a family defined more by love and togetherness than traditional bonds. Rare was the weekend of her early adult life that wasn't filled with family - her husband and children, her parents, her brother Larry Venturini and his wife Marie and their children, and Marie's parents Lowell and Edna Willard. Free time was most often spent at the home of her parents but included camping trips to Scotts Valley, road trips to Lewiston, Calif., and other family excursions. A lifelong fan of fashion, she shopped as well as sewed new pieces of clothing for her growing children. Later in life she returned to knitting, keeping her extended family warm with sweaters, socks, scarves, and caps. Like a sculptor with an unworked stone, she often "discovered" what piece was waiting to be born as she knitted.
Vicki started work at Capitola Elementary School as a parent volunteer in 1976, moving to a paid position soon thereafter then shifting to the Soquel Union School District office and eventually retiring as the district superintendent's assistant in 2002. Following her divorce from Don, she met Ron Blanchette, the director of special services for the school district. They married November 10, 1984, and together worked to blend their new extended family, buying a home nestled in the forested hills of Aptos. During Ron Vicki's early retirement years, they enjoyed traveling around the United States and to many foreign countries.
After her initial breast cancer diagnosis Vicki found support at WomenCARE Santa Cruz, a nonprofit providing free supportive services for women with all types of cancer. Vicki made fast friends there and returned to volunteer countless hours after her cancer went into remission, once being recognized as volunteer-of-the-year.
Preceded by her mother seven days before, Vicki is survived by husband Ron Blanchette, daughters Ren#233;e (Scot) Siden of Sacramento and Jennifer (Jim) Phillips of Live Oak, son Mark (Sophia) Griffin of Elk Grove, Calif., stepdaughter Sarah Blanchette (Ed Hansen) of Aptos, stepson Craig (Terri) Blanchette of Capitola, grandchildren Ben Jake Blanchette, Sam Nick Hansen, Kyle Owen Siden, Cassidy Colby Phillips, and Isabella Olivia Griffin, brother Larry (Marie) Venturini of Aguila, Ariz., nephew Steven (Kate) Venturini of Soquel, grandniece Julia Venturini, niece Gina Venturini and grandniece Stella Bristol of Lafayette, Colo., former husband Don Griffin (Linda Rothrock) of Live Oak, Ron's former wife Pat Blanchette (Jerry Dannemiller) of Aptos, and lifelong friend Sandy Olson.
A celebration of Vicki's life for friends and family will be held on Saturday, 21 April, 2 pm at 2724 Borregas Drive, Aptos. In lieu of flowers remembrances may be made in Vicki's name to WomenCARE Santa Cruz, 2901 Park Avenue, Suite A1, Soquel, CA 95073 or www.womencaresantacruz.org.
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Apr. 13, 2012