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Janice Tolotti Chelini

1936 - 2014, Santa Barbara

On Wednesday, April 9, 2014, the light of Janice Ann Tolotti Chelini was extinguished. Janice passed away after a long battle with cancer at the age of 77. As a long-time resident of Santa Barbara, CA, she touched the lives of many with her loyalty, generosity, spirit, and her zest for life.

Janice was born in Tacoma, Washington on June 23, 1936 to Ruth Bowrin Tolotti and John Leo Tolotti. After a brief stay in Ventura, Ca, she spent most of her life in the town she loved so much, Santa Barbara. She attended local schools and did the things that adolescents and teens did in the 1940’s and 1950’s. In 1956, Janice married and had four children.

Remembering their mother with love are Karen Chelini (Lafayette, CA), Marilyn Chelini (Dublin, CA), Eric Chelini (Oakland, CA) and Remy Chelini, (Crystal Lake, IL.) In addition, Janice’s 9 grandchildren, Anthony and Gina Fabrizio; Mychal, Vincent, and Ariana Chelini; Cole and Kyra Robertson; Niccolas Richey and Michaela Richey, who preceded her grandmother in death, and two great grandchildren, Isabella and Vincent Hendrix, will miss their beloved Nana very much. Janice’s heart extended to her “sisters” – best friends Debbie (DT) Talmage and Rosie Keller- who have enjoyed so many wonderful memories together that Janice will always remain near and dear in their hearts. Janice’s cherished dogs, Labradors Strider, Moonshine, Kahlua, and Godiva, will welcome her in this final journey.

Janice’s mind was one which leaned toward the technical and mathematical and yet, at the same time, one of wit and creativity. In 1967, Janice earned her first degree in Sociology and Math from University of California, Santa Barbara. This paved the way to be a pioneer in the field of computer programming. As one of the first women programmers, she helped launched programs in PASCAL, FORTRAN, COBOL, and BASIC. She continued her education with a Master’s degree in Computer Science from UCSB in 1974, and then a Master’s Business Administration in 1977 from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, CA. Janice’s works lead her to eventually work with NASA, designing a user interface for the Space Shuttle. Janice loved her field so much that she taught computer programming at UCSB Extension and Santa Barbara City College.

Known as JC to most of her friends, Janice had many passions: family, grandkids, close friends, traveling, animals, symphony, fine food and wine, and the game of bridge. Throughout the years, Janice has enjoyed the company of a close-knit group of women who remained close to her, as friends and confidantes. Janice’s competitive nature presented itself when she played bridge, both at the local bridge club and online. Her friends at the club remember Janice with “thirteen hearts.”

During the past 45 years, Janice’s passion for travel, including both work and pleasure, led her to every continent in the world. Her desire was to visit countries, from A-Z, relish in the differences in cultures, and bring a bit of those differences back home to share with others. Mission accomplished.
Janice believed in the community and was a part of the United Fund (Community Chest) as a section leader and volunteered at Helpline (Family Service Agency) as a suicide prevention counselor. In later years, Janice enjoyed spending time volunteering as a docent at Ganna Walska Lotusland in Santa Barbara.

The “Celebration of Janice’s Life” will be held on May 17th, 2014 at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara at 2:00 pm, 1535 Santa Barbara St., Santa Barbara, CA. In honor of their mother, Janice’s children request that something purple be worn, her favorite color. Donations may be made to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Serenity House of Santa Barbara, or your favorite charity.

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