December 29, 2018
St. Anthony Catholic Church
15 Indianola Road
Des Moines, Iowa
Tonini Funeral Home
December 28, 2018
Tonini Funeral Home
2135 SW 9th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50315
Santina M. “Shant” Punelli
Santina Marie Punelli, born July 4, 1926, passed away peacefully on December 23 after 92 full years of life.
Santina, known to many as Shant or Grandma Nelli, was a devoted Catholic and involved parishioner at St. Anthony’s Church; a social queen of Des Moines’ South Side; and a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. She grew up on Granger Avenue and graduated from Lincoln High in 1944, before going to work at Sink Paper Co. Her romance with Dominic Punelli, who lived down the street, began with a late night stroll after Sige DeFrancisco’s wedding reception (her mother had a fit!). They married in 1947 and raised three children. After her husband died in 1974, she worked for many years at Blue Cross.
Shant was generous, gregarious, strong-willed, and more than occasionally absent minded. She had a matter-of-fact way of cutting to the point that could be (unintentionally) hilarious. She entertained with humorous mishaps (Lysol in her hair, driving into a parade). She loved to plan a party, whether it was a wedding, Granger Avenue reunion, or her annual, epic garage sale. Her (endless) pasta sauce and meatballs will never quite be replicated. She believed in praying always and eating bread with every meal. She treasured her Italian heritage and finally traveled, at the age of 81, to the hills of southern Italy where her parents were born.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Dominic, whose memory she cherished for over four decades; her sister Antoinette; her parents Antonio and Francesca Romeo; and recently by her beloved son Tony.
She is survived by her daughters Raffaela (Robert) Blomberg, Francie (Phil) Bishop; daughter-in-law Linda Punelli; brother Attanasio (Sharon) Romeo; grandchildren Tony (Jane), Christina (Jake), Dominic (Kelli), Jessica (Tony), Josh (Amber), Emily (Adam), Nick (Kilian), and Katie (Will); great grandchildren Nina, Anthony, Dominic, Rocco, Roman, Meyer, Abby, Jack, Penelope, Millie, and Theo; great great grandchildren Nataleah and Nevaeh; nieces and nephews; and many friends.
Her family thanks the staffs at Iowa Jewish Senior Life and Hospice of the Midwest for their warm and diligent care.
Santina will be dearly missed.
There will be a visitation at Tonini Funeral Home on Friday, December 28th from 4-7 PM followed by a vigil at 7 PM. Funeral services will be held at St. Anthony’s Church at 10 AM on Saturday, December 29th, interment and luncheon following.
Memorials can be made to St. Anthony’s Church.
Online condolences will not publish to our website but will generate an email that is directed to the family.