Mary Nelson Panetta
1951 - 2021
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Mary Nelson Panetta
Nov. 16, 1951 - May 28, 2021
Resident of Reno
For Mary Panetta's family and friends, life just got a lot less colorful and fun.
Mary, a beloved mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend, died May 28 at home in Reno surrounded by family members. She was 69, and the cause of death was melanoma.
Mary was a people person with a heart full of empathy and love. Her personality was such that if you met her, you never forgot her openness, humor, honesty and willingness to help. On more than one occasion she literally gave the shirt off her back and the last dollar in her wallet to help a friend or stranger.
She was a longtime member of Alcoholics Anonymous, where she made many friends and changed many lives. There was no one too far gone for Mary, no one unworthy of compassion and kindness. She courageously defeated challenges in her own life with the help of others, and she never failed to return the favor.
Mary lived most of her life in San Jose and Campbell, where she raised her four children. Her death leaves a massive hole in their lives, and they will miss her terribly.
She was preceded in death by her husband, John Panetta, and her parents, Malcolm and Eileen Nelson of Campbell.
She is survived by her children, Carli (Keith), Lindsey (Robert), Jim (Camila) and John; grandchildren Caleb and Adeline; sister, Madge; brothers Michael (Catherine), Steve and Richard (Julie); nephews Chris, Devin, Dustin, Nicholas and Jacob; cousins and other relatives; and many, many friends.
There will be a private memorial service.
The family asks in lieu of flowers that donations be made in Mary's name to a charity of choice.


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Published in The Mercury News on Jun. 6, 2021.
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Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by San Jose Mercury News
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6 entries
June 7, 2021
Mary was amazing she was so sweet and supportive she was my friend and I feel honored to have had her in my life. She was an amazing mom and grandma. I loved watching her with her grandkids she will be missed she’s a shiny lite in the sky loved her
Lynda hinckley
Friend
June 6, 2021
God, please bless Mary's family and friends keep them strong.
Rest in Peace Mary!
Dale P
Acquaintance
June 5, 2021
I did not have the good fortune to spend allot of time with Mary but the time I did was full of laughter. Her big heart resonated with every person she touched!
She will be missed and this world is not as bright.
Her children are a beautiful result of her love and big heart!
Lisa Welch
Friend
June 4, 2021
Mary was my friend since I was a little girl. We shared so many important milestones in life. The last time we talked was in February. She told me how much she enjoyed her facetime with her kids and grandkids over Christmas. We laughed about how old we were getting...how did that happen. I will always hold her memory close in my heart.
Pat (Hebard) Curtis
Friend
June 3, 2021
Mike, Catherine, Madge, Steve (T-Guy), Rich and Julie. Our hearts are very sad at Mary's passing. We are so thankful for the love and comfort our Lord provides and for the love we share with all of you, my other family.
-marty, Pam and Christie
Marty
Neighbor
June 3, 2021
I saw in Mary mercy and grace.
She had the ability to let things go and be the bigger person. She valued relationships over rules.

Mary endured trials that would have crushed others and came out a better person. Most of all Mary was fun and magnetic. I will miss her.
Julie Marenco
Family
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