Published in the January 15, 2016 edition

Alfano-obit-webMELROSE — Joanna M. (Campanella) “JoJo” Alfano, of Melrose and Windham, N.H., passed away surrounded by her loving family after a short illness on Wednesday, Jan. 6. She was 71.

Born in Lynn on April 28, 1944, Joanna was raised in East Boston, one of two children of the late Gaetano and Marion R. (Pascucci) Campanella. Growing up in East Boston, Joanna graduated from Fitton Catholic High School and made many lifelong friends from her childhood and teenage years. She met her husband, Al, as teenagers and they dated for 10 years before marrying on June 2, 1972. Joanna’s life was marked by her devotion to her friends and family.

Joanna and Al moved to Melrose in 1973 to raise a family, becoming a part of the community for 41 years. She worked in an insurance agency for over 20 years where she made so many friends, both her co-workers and her clients. She also loved to write and had a way with words. She wrote a column for the Melrose Free Press called “My Side of the Street” and took much pride in her writing.

Joanna made “new best friends” everywhere she went. She had a way of making everyone in her life feel special. She valued her relationships and friendships above all else and would do anything for the people she loved. She had an amazing sense of humor and could find the humor in any situation. Joanna was known for collecting heart shaped rocks (and had everyone search for them for her.) She loved the beach more than any place. Her favorite vacations were spent by the ocean with her grandchildren.

Loving, sincere and thoughtful, Joanna was always thinking of how to make other people happy and had a way of making everyone she met feel special. She was the most devoted mother to Anthony, Christine and Nicholas. She was involved in every area of their lives – on the sidelines of sporting events, concerts and always room mother for the PTA. Being a mother meant so much to her and she was the mother many friends wished they had. Above all else, Joanna’s family was the most important thing in her life, especially her grandchildren who adore her. Her loving spirit will live on in the hearts of her family and friends.

She was the beloved wife of Alfonse J. “Al” Alfano with whom she shared 43 years of marriage. She was the devoted mother of Anthony J. Alfano of Peabody, Christine J. LaBrecque and her husband Keith of Salem, N.H. and Nicholas J. Alfano and his wife Sara of Newburyport. She was the loving sister of the late Bart Campanella. She was the proud grandmother of Sophie, Lucy, Lucas and Lexi. Also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends gathered in honor and remembrance of Joanna’s life during visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose on Sunday, Jan. 10, from 2-6 p.m. and again on Monday at 9 a.m. before leaving in procession to Most Blessed Sacrament Church, 1155 Main St., Wakefield for her funeral Mass celebrated at 10 a.m.

Gifts in Joanna’s memory may be made to the Lymphoma Research Foundation, 115 Broadway, Suite 1301, New York NY 10006. For online tribute visit