Celia: Devotee to the past inspires SP Historical Society Memorial Fund

June 26, 2013
Santa Paula News

Celia Diaz’s devotion to the past was the inspiration of a new Santa Paula Historical Society Memorial Fund created to honor the late restaurateur.

According to Society President Mary Alice Henderson, “The sudden passing of Celia Diaz” in February “inspired the Santa Paula Historical Society Board to introduce a memorial account called ‘Remembering & Honoring’. Funds generated are being spent on its history-related exhibits regularly seen in the California Oil Museum.”

Celia, said Henderson, “was the ideal inspiration for this recognition, for during her 30 years as a member of the Board she devoted most of her interest and energy in helping to create displays, first for its ‘Main Street Museum’ and later in the Museum.”

Initially the new account was announced in the Society’s newsletter, which the members responded to by donating more than $1,000. “Because Celia was known and admired by so many friends in the community, it seemed appropriate to allow those who wished to also contribute.” 

Henderson added, “This permanent fund was established as a means to remember Celia. However gifts are welcomed as a way to also honor individuals as well as being a memorial.”

Celia, said her longtime friend Angela Dominguez, “felt very strongly about our history,” which prompted much study and research and preservation efforts. “I have photos of Celia, Mary Alice and I working in the archives.”

Celia was also active in highlighting Santa Paula’s past: “When Mary Alice wrote the books” for Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series that concentrate on local histories, “Celia was very active in promoting and selling the books, both volume one and two.”

With a strong interest in photography, Dominguez, the Society’s Membership Committee chairperson said Celia was particularly dedicated to obtaining photos that showed Santa Paula at different times in its history. Borrowed photos were fine by Celia, who would make sure the images were carefully scanned and the original returned to the owner. And, realizing that history is often the historians, “Celia was in charge of the scrapbooks of the historical materials for the society itself.”

Overall, Dominguez said Celia “had good ideas... she never had a favorite project - she loved all history and all the exhibits. We also were devoted to obtaining and retaining materials pertaining to Mexican culture in historical Santa Paula. We did a history of the Californians; we would never leave out that Mexicans were the original Californians. “We did a lot of research,” said Dominguez, “and we did what we had to do.”

Donations are tax-exempt, as the Santa Paula Historical Society is a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation. Checks may be sent to the Santa Paula Historical Society’s address: P.O. Box 842, Santa Paula, CA 93061. Please do note for whom the gift is given on the memo line.  

If you’re interested in learning more about the Society or wish to become a member, contact Dominquez at 933-2341. Visit the Santa Paula Historical Society website at www.santapaulahistoricalsociety.org.

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