Jeanie Galanti did something few people do – she lived to be 100 years old. Over those years she touched many lives, those of her huge extended family (largely thanks to marrying Isaac “Bob” Galanti) and her many, many friends. She was known for so many wonderful traits – her kindness, her generosity, her love of family, and her ability to enjoy both the big things and the little things. Among the big things were travel to places she had studied in school. Among the little things that brought her joy were walks on the Venice Pier, visits to Brighton to look at and often buy purses and jewelry, going to Starbucks for a chocolate croissant, and to See’s candy for Scotch kisses, marzipan, and molasses chips. She also loved Cheetos, banana splits, and at the end, chocolate ice cream sodas. She clearly had a sweet tooth!
She was a thoughtful person and made life easy for her daughter by knowing when it was time to stop driving, without having to be told. She also knew when it was time to move into Assisted Living, without having to be encouraged. She had a wonderful sense of humor, and the ability to laugh at herself. She was famous for her “Jeanie-isms” – “Don’t forget to lock the car door before you get in,” or as she said to her sister Violet, after walking her to her hotel room, “Vi, I’d call you later, but I don’t remember your name.” And then there was the time she ordered a soft-boiled egg, “made with egg-beaters, please.” When we’d point out the absurdity of her statements, she would just laugh and laugh along with us.
Her life wasn’t always easy. She lost her beloved older sister Pauline when she was in her early 40s, and both her husband and son Bryan when she was only in her 60s. She didn’t retire until her mid-80s, working as a bookkeeper for her liquor store and then her nephew’s registry and her niece’s flower shop. She had colon cancer in her late 70s; the oncologist told us she had three to five years to live; he was off by about 20 years. The good thing about that is that it spurred her daughter and son-in-law to start taking her on cruises and local land trips, which she loved. She got the travel bug early in life when her parents would drive from New York to California every year and brought her with them. Her husband couldn’t travel both because he had to run their liquor store and because of health problems. She was a great traveler; she saw any problems or inconveniences as “an adventure.” In addition to colon cancer, Jeanie had several other life-threatening issues requiring hospitalization, but she survived them all. And always with a smile and a positive attitude. She had incredible resilience. Her favorite sayings were, “Everything happens for a reason” and “Everything happens for the best.” She truly believed that, so of course she was always able to recover from whatever life threw at her, and smile.
She leaves behind her daughter, Geri-Ann, her son-in-law, Donald Sutherland, her daughter-in-law, Vivian and numerous nieces and nephews. To say she will be missed is a cliché, but in this case, it’s abundantly true. She has been an important part of so many lives for so long. Memories of her will bring a smile to all.