Cover photo for Daniel J. Campanaro's Obituary
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1947 "Sonny" 2022

Daniel J. Campanaro

June 11, 1947 — December 2, 2022

White Bear Lake

Age 75, of White Bear Lake, passed away suddenly December 2, 2022.​

Daniel "Sonny" Campanaro, Jr., was born on June 11, 1947 to Dan and Irene in St. Paul, MN. He grew up on the family produce farm in Little Canada with his parents and siblings, Judy, Pat, & Joan. There are many stories of him growing up on the farm. From wrestling around with his brother, teasing his sisters, and even bringing a horse home one time. He was always the jokester of the family and liked to have fun.​

Dan attended St. John's Catholic School and later graduated from White Bear Lake High School. After graduation, he enrolled in the U.S. Air Force for 4 years, actively served during the Vietnam War, and spent over 20 years in the U.S. Air National Guard. He proudly continued serving by working as a mechanic on F-16 fighter jets at the air base in Duluth. Including the annual Guard trips to Panama and Peurto Rico, where he never forgot to sneak some lizards back for his son.​

Dan had an unrivaled work ethic. Between the excavating business, service for the military, and even some time on the Vadnais Heights Environmental committee, Dan always made time for fun. He was an avid bowler, golfer, and gardener. He was meticulous about his yard. He always had a perfectly mowed lawn surrounded by beautiful landscaping.  

He enjoyed family gatherings and going on annual vacations to the cabin in Alexandria, MN. That included fishing with his dad, sister, and brothers-in-law. For many years he hosted The Campanaro Open Golf Tournament, over the 4th of July at Gem Lake Golf Course. The holidays were especially fun with good food, intense games of spoons, laughing while opening the white elephant gifts, but most of all, it was the time with family.​

Dan was an active member for 15 years and lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of White Bear Lake Post 1782. He held many positions throughout the years, including Post Commander twice. He was also an active member of the community by regularly volunteering at the church. 

​He loved his children, grandchildren, and family. Dan and his wife, Debra, were married for 19 years. They enjoyed traveling to the beautiful North Shore. They spent their time together going on walks every day, dining out from time to time, working on projects around their home, and spending time with family. Granddaughters, Arianna and Maliah adored him. Dan and Debra enjoyed life together and most of all being together.​

Dan was the husband, son, dad, papa, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, and friend that everyone enjoyed and wanted to be around. We will miss his smile, his caring spirit for everyone, and especially the way he could make us all laugh. We will hold those memories close to our hearts forever and will never forget you, Dan, dad, papa, brother, brother-in-law, uncle Sonny, and friend.​We love you!​

Preceded in death by parents, Daniel, Sr. and Irene; brother, Patrick; and stepson, Nicholas Swanson.

​Survived by wife, Debra; daughter, Amy; son, Patrick; sisters, Judy (Terry) Morri and Joan (Denny) Mead; stepson, Matt (Sarorn) Swanson; grandchildren, Robyn, Arianna and Maliah; brother-in-law, Dick Johnson; sisters-in-law, Jan Dick and Becky Johnson; many nieces and nephews.

​Memorial Service 12:00 PM Tuesday, December 13 at Community of Grace Lutheran Church, 4000 Linden St., White Bear Lake, with a luncheon to follow the service. Visitation will be held from 4-6:30 PM Monday at Mueller-Bies Funeral Home - Roseville, 2130 N. Dale St. at County Rd B, and at the church from 11 AM - 12 Noon Tuesday. Private interment St. John's Cemetery, Little Canada, MN.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Daniel J. Campanaro, please visit our flower store.


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