Martha Stokes Panella

Martha Stokes Panella. Courtesy photo.

Martha Stokes Panella
Oct. 21, 1957 — July 25, 2021

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — Martha Stokes Panella, born Martha Blanche Stokes and called Muffie all her life, passed away in her sleep at her home on July 25, 2021, succumbing to metastatic breast cancer at age 63.

Family members cared for her in her final weeks and joined together to surround her with love at her passing.

A lifelong resident, Muffie is a beloved member of a Lake County family that extends back multiple generations on both her mother’s side (Monroe and Moore) and father’s side (Keithly).

An aptitude for accounting and attention to detail showed up in her early years, and Muffie worked in the office of her parents’ company, Stokes Ladders, and sold pears in the family’s farm stand to earn money for college.

At California State University, Chico, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration, with a minor in nutrition. She worked in the office of Carpenter and Carpenter, CPAs, during the summers and continued there when she graduated and returned to Lake County.

In addition to continuing with the Carpenters and Stokes Ladders, she worked for a period for CPAs Leon Turner and Dan Panella, and in more recent years she worked at Clearlake Redi-Mix and had a number of private clients.

Muffie took real joy in her work and formed many warm relationships through it. She served her clients steadfastly until she recently became unable to work. Her adding machine skills were legendary; she would have won the world championship for no-look speed and accuracy.

The center of Muffie’s world was — and always remained — her children. She married Dan Panella in 1982, and together they had three children: Russell, Greg and Caitlin.

Muffie was the kind of mom who sewed individually designed sleeping bags for her children, baked them birthday cakes in unique shapes, taught them to raise chickens and gather eggs, and showed them in every way that they were loved. To this day, her home is filled with treasures from throughout her children’s lives.

After Dan Panella’s life was cut short at age 44, Muffie moved her family from Finley to a property on Bottle Rock Road, where she built a new home with a swimming pool and large shop. Her home and shop became the gathering area for her three children’s friends and their projects. During this time she was married to Greg Campbell, also of Kelseyville.

Muffie always had a smile and an open door, a generous heart, and a full refrigerator for hungry teens and twenty-somethings. In recent years, she treasured her time with her four young grandchildren.

Throughout her life, Muffie remained part of a tight knit group of friends from grade school, hosting summer reunions at her home. Everyone — family, friends and colleagues — found her to be exceptionally generous, willing to lend a hand and put others’ problems before her own.

She brought a high level of efficiency, reliability and organizational skill to any task she took on, whether it was organizing the vendors at the annual Kelseyville Pear Festival or preparing payrolls for businesses.

Muffie is survived by her son, Russell Panella; her son, Greg Panella, daughter-in-law, Allison Panella, and grandchildren Audrey, Daniel and Jocelyn; her daughter, Caitlin Panella, her partner Chris Carlino, and granddaughter Finley.

She is preceded in death by her father, Russell Stokes; her sister, Sheryl; and her niece, Sherita; and is survived by her mother, Janice Stokes; brother, Syd Stokes and sister-in-law Diane Henderson; sister, Laura Stokes and sister-in-law, Amy Schliftman; brother, Pete Stokes, sister-in-law, Heather Stokes, nephews, Peter and Graham, and niece, Sylvie; niece, Marcela and nephew, Javier, as well as her companion, Bill Fleming, and an extended family of cousins.

A celebration of Muffie’s life will be held on Saturday, Aug. 14, from 2 to 5 p.m., at the home of Janice Stokes, located at 2970 Merritt Rd, Kelseyville, CA 95451.

To honor her generosity and faith in family, cook a nice meal and enjoy it with your family or share it with a friend.

Please direct any questions to Allison Panella, 707-483-2383.