Denise was born on Nov. 21, 1952, to Raymond and Carmela Pesenti of Paso Robles, Calif. She grew up, the youngest of three children, on the family farm west of Paso Robles. Denise passed away unexpectedly on April 22, 2019, due to complications from pneumonia.
Denise attended Kindergarten through high school in Paso Robles, graduating with the class of 1970. After graduation, Denise married Bob Fillmore. They have two daughters, Tami and Tina.
From the time Denise was a cute little girl, with blonde curls around her face, she shared her generous compassionate soul with others. Her heart had no boundaries and her love was unconditional. She spent her life helping others. She made people feel good about themselves through her honest interest in what they were doing with their lives. Denise always gave herself completely to everything she did.
Denise had a special passion for helping those less fortunate than herself, especially those who were unable to give back to her. Their success and comfort was her greatest reward. She spent hours holding workshops where she taught at-risk youth and adults skills they needed to survive in society. Some of the topics included learning to understand and complete job and housing applications as well as how to dress properly for job and housing interviews. She also cared for foster babies and children while the foster parents attended training workshops. Denise loved the children and they loved her. She provided games and toys and developed activities to keep them entertained.
Denise valued her time working with the people in eldercare facilities also. The last care home was in San Luis Obispo where she endeared herself to the owners, Julie and Manya. They appreciated her sincere dedication and patience with the people in the home. Denise cared deeply about each resident and their quality of life. She entertained them with her humor, always leaving them laughing and happy. She engaged them in conversation, taking a particular interest in what they did in their younger lives. Her thought-provoking and fun activities were always welcome. Karaoke night was one of the residents’ favorites. Denise was also trained in end of life hospice care. She found satisfaction in caring for people at their most vulnerable time of life. She gave the same loving care to her hospice patients as she did her own father; whom she treated with dignity and grace to the last hours of his life.
Another gratifying time for Denise was working as Director of Human Resources for MGM’s Primm Valley Resort and Excalibur Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. During the summer months, she hosted student interns from Poland. They would come to America to work and learn about the diversity in our lives. One of those Polish students, Piotr, became her equivalent when he returned home. Piotr traveled back to Las Vegas from Poland to work with Denise five more times. They had long conversations on diversity and remained friends for life. Denise also traveled to Poland to learn more about its history and the people. While there, she toured and recruited students to work during future summers in Las Vegas. Piotr acted as her helper and tour guide. One of the places Denise visited was the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. This was a very sobering experience and she never forgot the feeling of being in that very sad place. When Denise returned to Las Vegas she met Stephen “Pista” Nasser, a wonderful Hungarian gentleman who survived Auschwitz-Birkenau and also Muhldorf, a subcamp of Dachau in Bavaria, Germany. He told Denise stories that changed her life. When she bought his first book, “My Brother’s Voice”, she encouraged others to read it also. Piotr summed up Denise’s humor, work ethic and rapport with those she worked with by saying, “Denise was a great person. She is still my role model as a boss…demanding but fair and always happy!” Denise made many valued and lasting friendships during her 20-year stay in Las Vegas.
She was attracted to the sights and sounds of big cities but was always a farm girl at heart. She valued everything in nature. She grew beautiful flower and vegetable gardens and enjoyed watching butterflies, bees, and songbirds. She looked forward to peaceful evenings outside on the farm where contented frogs serenaded from her pond. Denise’s favorite place was at the ocean, she spent many hours in its tranquility. The beauty she found in her surroundings fulfilled her spiritual soul.
Denise entertained many with her quick wonderful humor and comical antics. She was a terrific joke teller and accomplished prankster. Life was good if she could keep people laughing. She was relentless in her hilarity and rarely gave up until our stomachs hurt from laughing. Denise’s charismatic personality brightened every room she entered and every occasion she attended. She enjoyed singing and dancing and was always prepared with her own Karaoke machine and indexed binder full of CDs. Her love of life was contagious!
Denise loved her family with her whole being. At the time of her death, she was happily preparing for a family trip to Hawaii for the graduation of her grandson Marcus from Hilo University. She had planned the whole trip with having fun in mind, of course. She was excited to try skydiving…it was going to be thrilling! If Denise could give us one last bit of advice it would probably be this, “Do not take the next minute of life for granted! It may not be yours”.
Denise supported blood banks, organ donor programs, hospice, and local food banks. She was a devoted advocate for the homeless, the elderly and sick or disabled children and adults. She gave blood regularly. Her final measure of giving to others was when she became an organ donor herself at the end of her life.
Denise is survived by her mother Carmela Pesenti; husband of 49 years, Bob Fillmore; daughters, Tami and Tina Fillmore; brother, Raymond Pesenti Jr (Pam) all of Paso Robles; sister Mary Ann Thompson (Mel) of Gig Harbor, Wash.; grandsons: James Robert and Marcus Calamese of Las Vegas, Nev., and Nolan Reasons, of Paso Robles; nephews: Greg Pesenti (Laura) of Paso Robles and Jesse Savage (Leslie) of Gig Harbor, Wash.; niece, Holly Prieto (Chris) of Paso Robles; great nieces and nephews: Brysan and Brooklyn Pesenti; Scott, Sophie and Casey Prieto all of Paso Robles; Wren and River Savage of Gig Harbor, Wash., and her Aunt Gloria Russell of San Diego, Calif. She also leaves behind many loving cousins and treasured friends. Denise was preceded in death by her beloved father Raymond Pesenti Sr. in 2014 and her nephew Matthew Pesenti in 2012.
If you would like to honor Denise’s life and legacy you can do so by being kind and caring to others, especially those less fortunate than yourselves. Give blood, be an organ donor, support your local food bank, give to hospice, St. Jude’s or Ronald McDonald House. Brighten someone’s day with a smile, a hug or a kind word…maybe all three!
Kuehl-Nicolay Funeral Home of Paso Robles, Calif., was in charge of arrangements. No services will be held at this time. If you wish to leave a message for Denise’s family you may go to www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/paso-robles-ca/denise-pesenti-fillmore-8262619