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Obituaries » Rena Vanni

Rena Vanni

April 22, 1934 - October 7, 2023

Service Date: October 11, 2023

Funeral Home Memorial Services of Iowa

Church Our Lady's Immaculate Heart Catholic Church

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Rena (Palandri) Vanni, a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend, was called home to her Lord on October 7, 2023. Rena passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by her loved ones.

A visitation will be held from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Tuesday, October 10, 2023, at Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Catholic Church (OLIH) in Ankeny, Iowa, with a rosary at 7:00 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 10:30 am on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, at OLIH, followed by burial at Ankeny Memorial Gardens.

Rena was born in Piandelagotti, Italy, on April 22, 1934, to Camillo and Mary Gilda Palandri. She moved with her family to Granger, Iowa, when she was five years old. Rena graduated in 1952 from Granger Assumption High School. She then relocated with her parents to Ankeny, Iowa. On her birthday in 1961, Rena married her soul mate, Egidio Vanni, and they remained happily married for over 62 years.

Rena was a significant part of Ankeny State Bank/Community State Bank for 41 years. She relished her role in helping customers and engaging with the community. We often joked that there wasn’t a person in Ankeny that Rena didn’t know. One of her favorite roles was organizing trips for her senior citizen customers.

Rena loved to dance with her husband, and they spent many weekends on the dance floor. Many people commented on how gracefully they moved together.

She was an active parishioner at Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Catholic Church and a supportive member of the Catholic Daughters. Rena was a member of the Vittoria Lodge Women’s Auxiliary and celebrated many of life’s major events at the Lodge.

Rena was an amazing cook and would frequently host large dinner parties. She loved spending time with her kids and grandkids, teaching them how to make pasta, ravioli, and the perfectly delicate and uniform tortellini. If you were going to help, you had to understand that nothing short of perfection was going to be placed on the pan.

Rena was an avid sports fan and sharp card player. She loved attending girls’ sporting events, including softball and basketball, as well as rooting for the Iowa Hawkeye football and basketball teams. Rena brought her competitive spirit into card playing, including bridge, pitch, and canasta, and loved to play at every opportunity.

Rena and Egidio loved to travel and would return to Italy every couple of years. In 2001, they bought a second home in the Apache Wells Resort in Mesa, Arizona, where they met so many great friends and built lasting memories.

Rena is preceded by her parents Camillo and Mary Gilda Palandri, her brother Joe Palandri, and her son-in-law, Steven Righi.

She is survived by her loving husband Egidio; her three daughters Delinda Righi, Jolene Robbins (Marty), and Angela Fontana (Anthony); grandchildren Gina Righi, Crista Schafer (Dan), Spencer Robbins, Grant Robbins, Andrew Fontana, Alexandra Fontana, and Amelia Fontana, and her great-granddaughter, Madalyn Righi-Leinen.

Rena loved her large extended family and fought a gallant fight against cancer to stay with them as long as possible. Her passing was so peaceful because she never wavered in her faith and her knowledge that she would see you all again in Heaven.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Catholic Church.

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