Pleasanton recently lost two men who contributed significantly to this town at opposite times of their lives.
Educator Jim Campana spent his professional career here and shaped the Amador Valley High music program as the community started its substantial growth back in the 1960s and 1970s. He died at the age of 86 in Sonora.
And community senior activist Jack Dove passed away at age 89, ending an exemplary volunteer career advocating making Pleasanton a better community, particularly for seniors. Jack and Polly moved here in 1986.
Campana taught at Amador and built the music program at a time when Pleasanton Elementary School offered a marching band program led by the late Chan Henderson (for whom the stage Wayside Park is named). Jim founded the Amador Valley Jazz Festival, which was renamed the Campana Jazz Festival after he retired. He attended festival each year after he retired in 1979. He enjoyed almost 34 years of retirement, living in Pleasanton until 1996 before moving to Sonora.
The memorial service is set for 10 a.m. on May 17 at St. Augustine’s Catholic Church. A reception will follow at the Pleasanton Hotel, “Handel’s Restaurant.” What an appropriate slip for the author of the obit—celebrating a musician in a place named for another legendary musician. Of course, the restaurant in the hotel now is Handles Gastropub.
Not being a band member while growing up here, I knew Jim Campana only peripherally, but I, like so many others, knew Jack Dove. Reading the comments about his passing on the Town Forum, it is notable how many community leaders remembered him.
Jack and his beloved wife, Polly, moved here in 1986 and Jack promptly launched into his civic activities. My sessions with him were always characterized by a written agenda for our discussion—we rarely made it through the list—and concrete suggestions for improving the town. His “retirement” was a model of staying active and striving to improve the quality of life, particularly for senior citizens who often do not have much of a voice.
City Manager Nelson Fialho, who met with Jack monthly for 16 years, wrote, “Jack was an amazing person—a citizen activist and volunteer…He used the meetings to advance ideas, suggest areas for improvement in city programs, services and activities and provide accolades and critiques if necessary. He approached every matter with respect: a true gentleman of the highest order.
“I credit Jack for advancing the Callippe golf course, the Firehouse Arts Center, downtown vitality, improved county-city relationships, emergency preparedness and affordable housing for seniors and young families.
“M favorite memory of Jack and Polly (his late wife who died in 2011) was eating dinner with the two of them during the holidays at the Case Avenue senior housing complex (Ridge View Commons). He wanted me to experience the quality of the food being served to seniors and suggest ways in which the service can be delivered more effectively. He was the ultimate quality assurance volunteer,” Fialho wrote in an email.
Rick Pickering, former CEO of the Alameda County Fair, wrote, “Polly & I....He always spoke adoringly of Polly & she was truly his "partner" in his many endeavors. He was very passionate about all things senior citizen in the area - housing, transportation, emergency services, emergency preparedness, meals, etc...
“Last year during one of our many breakfasts at Jim's, I was quite honored when Jack gave me several of his rare & collectable Boy Scout items, including items from when he attended the very first National Scouting Jamboree in Washington D.C. in 1937. Jack said he believed in what Scouting offered young men & wanted to thank me for being a Scouting leader.”
Rick is an Eagle Scout and has volunteered as a leader in Scouting for years. He has received the organization’s highest honor for volunteer leadership.
The memorial service for Jack will be on May 25 at 2 p.m. at Lynnewood Methodist Church.