Charlene J. Castelli, a 1994 Summa Cum Laude graduate of The Valley Foundation School of Nursing at San José State University, passed away on February 13, 2021 after a four-year struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Charlene was 75 years old at the time of her death. She died peacefully at home in Sunnyvale surrounded by her husband Larry of 53 years and her four children Tony, Regine, Andrea, and Terry. Charlene is also survived by ten loving grandchildren. Charlene had six siblings and she was the youngest member of her very close family. She was also the only member of her family to earn a college degree.
Charlene entered college later in life after raising her four children. She started at De Anza College in Cupertino only to take a few classes for fun, but soon decided to pursue a degree in nursing. She earned her Associate in Arts within two years, graduating Magna Cum Laude, and moved directly into the nursing program at San José State University. She graduated within two years from SJSU and also passed her RN exam along the way. Charlene worked as a care nurse at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation for a few years before entering the research department at PAMF. She soon joined Merck & Co. as a medical research coordinator for their clinical development trials. Charlene then continued her career in research trials as a clinical site manager for Genentech. She worked almost exclusively on Phase 1 clinical trials, which she thoroughly enjoyed.
Charlene’s strong work ethic and personable manner contributed to her success as a research coordinator and inspired other family members to pursue their educational and career goals. Charlene retired in 2014 to enjoy more time with her family, as well as pursue both national and international travel.
Lawrence J. Castelli, Charlene’s husband, established a scholarship in her memory at San Jose State’s Valley Foundation School of Nursing to continue her legacy supporting future generations of nurses and research.
The Charlene J. Castelli Memorial Scholarship will provide support to Nursing students with at least a 3.0 GPA who have returned to college or started a career later in life and who has financial need but doesn’t qualify for federal financial aid.
Visit Legacy.sjsu.edu to learn more ways you may honor the memory of a loved one with a legacy gift.