Bernice (Bea) Lanza

April 10, 1922 – February 10, 2023
photo of a one room schoolhouse

Bernice (Bea) Lanza

Bernice (Bea) Lanza (nee Bernice Matilda Jacobs) died peacefully on February 10, 2023 in Fair Oaks, California, having lived for 100 years and 10 months. Daughter of Lawrence and Anna Jacobs, she was raised in Nezperce, Idaho with eight siblings who preceded her into their eternal rest: brothers Larry, Cyril, Ray, Joe and Bill; and sisters Dorothy, Mary Kay and Francie.

Bea attended Lewiston State Normal School (now known as Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, ID) to earn a teaching credential, followed by five years teaching in one-room schools in rural Idaho. Looking for adventure, she then worked in dress boutiques in Pullman and Spokane, WA and eventually in San Francisco, CA for several years. Returning to Spokane in 1950, she met and married Ralph Lanza in March 1951. Their son Frank was born in February 1952, and Bea and her husband also raised Ralph’s daughter, Valerie, from his previous marriage. In 1956 the family moved to Sacramento, CA where Bea attended Sacramento State College to earn a California teaching credential. She then taught for 25 years at St. Robert Catholic School, especially enjoying the 4th grade where she observed that her students were “too old to cry and too young to be smart-alecks.”

After her husband’s passing in 1979 and her retirement from teaching School in 1986, Bea devoted herself to volunteer work and to travel. She was active for nearly 20 years with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, serving her final 10 years as a volunteer receptionist at Methodist Hospital near her home in south Sacramento. During this time she also enjoyed traveling with other widowed friends to Europe, Scandinavia, Israel, Russia, and the Greek isles. Fiercely independent into her mid-80s, Bea enjoyed doing her own yard and housework until the time came for her to move to senior housing in Fair Oaks, CA to be close to son Frank and daughter-in-law Pam. Bea sorely missed daughter Valerie who passed in 2022. She loved to hear from her grandchildren, nieces and nephews. She remained a keen bingo player and ardent supporter of the Sacramento Kings basketball team until her health worsened a few weeks prior to her passing.

She is survived by Frank and Pam, five grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

A funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, March 18, 2023 at 10:30am at Divine Savior Catholic Church, 9079 Greenback Lane, Orangevale, CA 95662.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be sent to Mercy Hospice Care, 3400 Data Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670.