Velia Escalera Santillan
April 14, 1929 – March 27, 2015
Velia Escalera Santillan, 85, a native of Imperial Valley, passed away on March 27, 2015 after an extended illness, surrounded by family. Although she was blessed to live with her daughter and family in El Mirage, AZ the last 11 years of her life, she truly loved her Imperial Valley.
Mrs. Santillan was born in Brawley on April 14, 1929 to Apolonio and Justina Escalera, pioneers of Imperial Valley. She attended Brawley schools and graduated from BUHS in 1948. She married Antonio B. Santillan on Oct. 5, 1952 at St. Margaret Mary Church in Brawley.
Mrs. Santillan, a cradle Catholic, was an active member of St. Margaret Mary Church for over 20 years and then at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Imperial for over 50 years. She also served on the Mexican Gallery Committee of the Imperial County Historical Society, where she is a lifetime member.
She was employed by Imperial Irrigation District for 10 years. In 1959, she went to work for the Imperial Federal Credit Union in Imperial. During her tenure there, she served as a teller, loan officer and assistant manager. She was also active in the California Chapter of the Credit Union League serving in various leadership positions. After 32 years of service, she retired in 1991.
Mrs. Santillan enjoyed spending time with her immediate family, especially her grand and great-grandchildren. But her biggest joy came when she attended the Annual Escalera Family Reunion. She was considered the family historian with an extensive collection of family photos and compiling the detailed history of the Escalera, Zermeño, and Santillàn families, dating back to the 1700’s. She was also an avid fan of telenovelas.
Although we lost our Mother, Grandmother, Sister, Aunt, and Friend, we have gained another Angel. She was preceded in death and greeted in Heaven by her husband of 45 years, Antonio; her parents and stepmother, Maclovia Escalera; her sisters Erminia, Natividad, Maria Malatesta, Faustina Sanchez, Dolores Hernandez, and Berta Ochoa; and brothers Faustino, Jose, Fidencio “Fred” and Ruben Escalera.
She is survived by her daughters, Maria Quiroz (William) of El Centro, Becky Hull (Leonard) of Oxnard, and Laura Galindo (Michael) of El Mirage, AZ; grandchildren Lucy Verdugo, Lisa Quiroz, and Laura Lugo (Carlos), all of El Centro; Tony, Bobby (Monica), Felipe, Adan, and Avelina Hull of Oxnard; Angel and Antonio Galindo, and Teresa Alvarez (Jaime) of El Mirage, AZ; great-grandchildren, Javier and Joaquin Verdugo, Johnathan and Justin Quiroz-Singh, and Enzo Lugo, all of El Centro, and Isabella Hull and Martha Alvarado Hull of Oxnard; her sisters, Antonia Hernandez and Ana Velo; her brother, Jesse Escalera; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Please join us in celebrating Mrs. Santillan’s life on Friday, April 10th from 6:00 to 9:00pm, with Rosary at 7:00pm at Frye Chapel in Brawley. Mass will be on Saturday, April 11th at St. Margaret Mary Church at 8:30am, followed by burial services at Riverview Cemetery in Brawley.