Jeannette Zappetillo was a beautifully caring wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. She passed away surrounded by her family at home on August 31st, 2021 after an arduous 10-month battle with pancreatic cancer. She never let the pain of life’s trials wipe the warm smile off her face or take away her quirky sense of humor. Her generous and hospitable spirit will be remembered by all who knew her.
Jeannette was born in Minneapolis to Charlotte and Clifford Johnson. Her childhood was difficult, especially after her father left the family. She began working at a young age, taking the bus downtown by herself at age 14 to help support her mother and her siblings. After welcoming son Ron, she once again showed her incredible strength and dedication to family as she began to raise him by herself.
Jeannette always loved learning and taught herself accounting skills that helped her excel at a job in a firm located in the IDS building. As Jeannette’s mother had spent most of her life cleaning offices at night, she was so proud to have an office in one of Minneapolis’ most renowned buildings. As fate would have it, working there would also lead to meeting her husband, Jerry, who was the older brother of her best friend from the office.
Jerry and Jeannette were married in 1979 at Prince of Peace Church in Burnsville, MN. Soon after, they built a home in Prior Lake, MN. After moving into their new house, they welcomed their first daughter, Anna. Jeannette continued to work downtown until the firm was sold and second daughter Elizabeth, was born. With three little ones at home, Jeannette became deeply involved in the community with La Leche League, WELCA and spending time with neighbors and friends who became akin to a second family. As the years went by, the family welcomed Tony and then Katie. Jeannette was a fun-loving and dedicated mother, always planning amazing birthday parties, scavenger hunts, backyard picnics, trips to the beach, and camping trips in the pop-up camper.
As the children grew, she began working several nights a week at the local convenience store to support the arts and activities that she never could afford as a child. Once all the children were in school, she became the assistant manager, working during the day completing orders and overseeing deliveries. When the store was sold, Jeannette worked several years in the beverage industry. Having little computer skills, she sought out community education classes and asked her children a lot of questions about software in order to be a better employee and seek more skilled work. In November of 2003 she was hired by the Scott County CDA, as a receptionist, then accounting assistant and then assistant to the agency’s CPA. She worked diligently to make sure the financial workings of the organization were always accurate and timely. She often stayed late and came in early to make sure things were completed to her satisfaction. She served the CDA until after her diagnosis and officially retired in April 2021.
Jerry had always traveled for his work and shared that travel with Jeannette as much as he could. Jeannette loved seeing new cities, learning about their history, and enjoying the local culture. As children grew and left the house, Jerry and Jeannette started traveling internationally- exploring many places in Europe (several even twice), Scandinavia, Aruba, the Hawaiian Islands, and Mexico. One of Jeannette’s greatest joys in life was her grandchildren. Jeannette loved being a grandmother. She always planned special trips, shopping excursions, or gifts for them. Most of all, she loved spending time with them- reading books, playing games, and swimming.
We will remember her everyday, in the opportunities she brought to our lives and lessons she taught us. We were blessed to call her ours.
Jeannette will be forever missed by beloved husband, Gerald Zappetillo; devoted sons, Ron (Charla) Zappetillo and Tony (Nicole) Zappetillo, and dear daughters, Anna Zappetillo, Liz (Jeff) Lewis, and Katie (Jay) Allen. She was the sweetest grandma to 14 grandchildren and will be sorely missed by many other friends and relatives.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church at 11:00 AM on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Visitation at 10:00 AM, one hour prior to services. In lieu of flowers, please direct sympathy donations to the WELCA scholarship fund at Shepherd of the Lake. In her life, Jeannette was known for her love of sparkles. In her honor, please join in wearing something sparkly as we remember her life.Print Obituary & Condolences