Judy Giannini, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister and aunt, passed away peacefully on April 9, 2019, at her longtime Eureka home with her family by her side.

The second of five children, Judy was born February 24, 1939, to Wayne and Virginia Johnston in Oakland. The Johnstons moved to Eureka in 1945, and Judy later became part of the first-ever graduating class of St. Bernard’s High School in 1957.

A gifted pianist, Judy received a full music scholarship to attend Holy Names University. She returned home and graduated from Humboldt State University, receiving high honors in the music department under the tutelage of Charles Fulkerson and Charles Moon.

On June 24, 1961, Judy married her lifetime love, Nick Giannini, and the couple had two cherished sons, John and Matthew.

After college, Judy embarked on a long career in business as a founding member of Fireplace Bookshop, a longtime Johnston family business at the Eureka Mall. Perhaps inheriting that entrepreneurial spirit from her parents, Judy went on to become a partner in several businesses, including Ber-Lyn’s Clothing, Giannini’s Restaurant in Redding, Loleta Grocery, and the Curves for Women workout club in Cutten. She also worked as a volunteer at the Evergreen Lodge at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Throughout her life, music remained one of Judy’s greatest passions. Her favorite job was teaching piano to young students in her home, which she did for many years. She also played organ during services at both St. Bernard’s Church and St. Joseph’s Church over the years, a testament to not only her love of music, but also her unwavering faith. She and Nick were longtime members of St. Bernard’s Parish.

In true Johnston form, Judy was well known for her wit and sense of humor. She had an infectious smile and was never late with a clever quip that would fill a room with laughter, which she often did. Laughter and music were commonplace at family gatherings, and Judy was a gifted contributor to both.

In addition to her love of music, Judy also enjoyed working in her garden, going on afternoon walks, reading a good book, and following the San Francisco Giants. She was a kind and gentle soul who had a special compassion for animals.

Judy is survived by her husband of 57 years, Nick Giannini; sons John Giannini of Chandler, AZ and Matt (Linda) Giannini of Citrus Heights, CA; granddaughters Alexis Giannini of Glendale, AZ and Gianna Giannini of Citrus Heights; sisters Jean Lawry and Helyn Johnston of Eureka; brother Corky (Vida) Johnston of Manhattan Beach, CA; brother-in-law Ralph (Nancy) Giannini of Eureka; sister-in-law Bernadine Resso of Eureka; and 16 nieces and nephews.

Judy was preceded in death by her parents Wayne and Virginia Johnston, and her older brother Bill Johnston.

Judy touched many lives in profound ways. She was loved beyond measure and will be deeply missed. We will hold her close in mind and heart forever.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. The family requests that any memorial donations be made to the Humane Society or a charity of choice.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Judy Giannini’s family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.