Lasting Memories

James Peter Campana
Sept. 3, 1926-April 26, 2013
Sonora formerly Pleasanton, California

Submitted by Graham-Hitch Mortuary

James Campana, 86, of Sonora, CA died peacefully on Friday, April 26. He was born to the late Arthur and Katherine Campana, September 3, 1926, San Francisco, CA. Jim attended Balboa High School and was written up in the SF Chronicle as "the Tommy Dorsey of Balboa High." He received a BA and MA in Music in 1956 from San Francisco State University. He was married 59 years to his late wife Rosemary, and they lived in Pleasanton, CA 37 years before retiring to Sonora, CA in 1996. Jim was hired in 1959 as the Band Director at Amador, and taught until he retired in 1979. Mr. C. was passionate about making a difference in his students’ lives. In 1975 he founded the Amador Valley Jazz Festival and after his retirement, it was renamed the Campana Jazz Festival, which he attended faithfully every year. Jim was an active member of St. Patrick’s Church of Sonora, and SIRS. He traveled with his wife, family, and friends throughout his retirement. He enjoyed playing golf and dining at Caesar’s Restaurant of San Francisco with family and friends. Jim is survived by four children: Lisa Garon, of Pleasanton, Terri Campana, of Palenville, NY, Tina Wilbur, of Sonora, Paul Campana, of Fremont, and five grandchildren. A Rosary will be held at 7 p.m. May 16th at Graham-Hitch Funeral Home, followed by a Funeral Mass, May 17th at 10 a.m., St. Augustine’s Church in Pleasanton. A Memorial Reception will follow the mass at the Pleasanton Hotel, (Handles Gastropub).

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From Rob Thomas
Sept. 15, 2013

High school band can be a rough experience, but not with Mr. C. He instilled passion without pain. He didn't demand quality, he achieved it. As a kid who changed uniforms at halftime, I find that I have more nostalgia for the band than sports. We were all so fortunate to have been mentored by Mr. C. Keep the horns swinging!

From Mitchell Angel
May 30, 2013

Mr. Campana was far more than a music teacher. Just to be involved in his program was an honor. Campana taught far more than music. Dedication, responsibility, perfection, persistance, work ethics, honesty. During my time with Campana my father died. I was 15 years old. Campana taught me how to depend on my music to help heal and stay out of trouble. When I graduated I auditioned and served in the US Army Bands. Amazing...the values Campana taught us were exactly what I needed to be sucessful in the Army and today. I will be eternally grateful. Until we meet again...

From Sandy Rymer Drengacz
May 14, 2013

I had the pleasure of being in the AVHS bands from 1967 through 1970. I have always held Mr. Campana in the highest regard as a musician, teacher, mentor and caring person. It's hard to express what a positive influence he was in my life during that time, and how much the band membership meant to me. He taught me how much I could improve when I dedicated myself to practice, and being a part of a group. My deepest sympathy goes out to his family members and friends.

From Sandy Rymer Drengacz
May 14, 2013

I had the pleasure of being in the AVHS bands from 1967 through 1970. I have always held Mr. Campana in the highest regard as a musician, teacher, mentor and caring person. It's hard to express what a positive influence he was in my life during that time, and how much the band membership meant to me. He taught me how much I could improve when I dedicated myself to practice, and being a part of a group. My deepest sympathy goes out to his family members and friends.

From David Stevens
May 10, 2013

I only had Mr C for his last two years, and I was glad for the time. One of my first memories is the time he stopped our practice to adjust a cork pad on a squeaky clarinet. As his hands coaxed the tired instrument to life he also critiqued the previous few bars, with tips to us trumpets and putting the music in context for the band. I could not do either separately, much less simultaneously. An impressive teacher who made my life better. RIP Mr Camapana

From Jim Annis
May 5, 2013

This is very sad news. I have SO many wonderful memories of being in the Amador High School Band in from 1966-1970. Marching in parades, playing at Oakland Raiders' games, concerts, etc. I had the pleasure and honor of thanking Mr. Campana for instilling in me a love of music several months ago as I saw him at Heritage Estates in Livermore.

From Terri Pompilio (OBrian)
May 5, 2013

I am so sad to hear of his passing. He did so many wonderful things for all of us that were lucky to experience music with him. I loved high school because of music and Mr. C. My heartfelt condolences go to all of his family and friends.

From Larry Annis
May 5, 2013

I played the trumpet for Amador High Schol Band from fall of 1961 to June 1965. I played in the marching band, orchestra and pep band. Jim Campana wanted us to be the best in all of them. I also played football at Amador. However, I think I may have spent more time on the football field in the morning dew practicing "Waltzing Mathilda" than playing football! Teachers shape all or our lives and Mr. C. was a big influence on my life. Rest in peace Mr. C. - Larry Annis