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Jeanette Catalano Blackshaw
  • In lieu of flowers, please send donations to The Women's Room at Friends in Deed.
  • Friends in Deed
    444 E. Washington Blvd.
    Pasadena, CA 91104

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“Going over to the Blackshaws was always exciting. There was always big trays of delicious food and a bunch of cool older siblings having animated...Read More »
1 of 3 | Posted by: Karen Landrud Drechsler - NY

“Jay was in High School and College with me. What a dynamic person she was. A great athlete, scholar, musician, and above all she was always...Read More »
2 of 3 | Posted by: Agnes Prindiville - Kenilworth, IL

“Jay will always be remembered for her vibrant spirit, sense of humor, boundless energy, community volunteerism, love of music, love of family and...Read More »
3 of 3 | Posted by: Ann Erdman - Pasadena, CA


In loving memory, Jeanette Catalano Blackshaw (1928-2017).

Longtime Pasadena resident, social justice activist, and civic leader Jeanette "Jay" Blackshaw died peacefully at age 89 with family members by her side. She is survived by six of her seven children: Julie, John, Gina, Peter, Annie, Amy, fourteen grandchildren, and her loving sister Dorothy. Her husband Bill and daughter Mary are deceased.

A 50-year Pasadena resident, Jay was a passionate advocate for the integration of Pasadena schools in the 1970s, and held leadership positions in local and regional PTA organizations working to achieve equal access in education. She raised money to support anti-poverty campaigns, organized for nuclear disarmament, and supported the anti-apartheid and sanctuary movements. She was a fierce women's rights advocate and fought for the Equal Rights Amendment. In 1988, she served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jay was deeply passionate about serving and improving the City of Pasadena for all residents. She served as a field representative to three city council members, including two mayors. She was honored in 1995 as a YWCA Woman of Excellence for her commitment to eradicating racism and improving the lives of women and children. On any given Sunday, Jay's voice could be heard from the social forums held at her beloved All Saints Episcopal Church.

Jay was also known for her gracious and spontaneous hospitality and talk-worthy Italian cooking. In addition to her full house with seven children, she hosted frequent guests -- from exchange students to countless friends in need of housing. Her dinner table and home always had room for one more. Gatherings often ended with guests and family surrounding Jay at the piano, singing and harmonizing her beloved old standards and carols. She was a talented gardener (teaching her children that every garden needs a "touch of blue"), and tended her beautiful garden in the East Pasadena Foothills while listening to Italian opera piped from outdoor speakers. She was a trailblazer for recycling, composting and natural foods (undeterred by the occasional teasing and embarrassment of her children). For years she served as a docent at Huntington Gardens.

A Chicago native, Jeanette was the daughter of Sicilian immigrants Liborio Catalano and Maria Grazie Arrigo. She attended Rosary College, and enjoyed a few years as a third grade teacher before she started her family. She was widowed at age 30 with three children and one on the way, when her first husband, John Fox, died of a heart attack. Six years later she married William J. Blackshaw, adding three more kids to the mix.

Jay served as a board member of the Pasadena Educational Foundation and Pasadena City College's Community Board. She was also part of the Pasadena Sister Cities Committee, the Sierra Madre Villa Neighborhood Association, the YWCA and the Huntington Hospital Community Board.

She spent her final years at Huntington Silverado Memory Care in Alhambra, California. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to The Women's Room at Friends in Deed. Viewing for Jay will be at Forest Lawn in Hollywood Hills on Friday, June 30, from 5 - 9pm, and services for Jay will take place at All Saints Church in Pasadena on Saturday July 1, at 11:30am, followed by a reception at the church. Burial services will take place at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills at 3pm.