Santa Paula Times


February 08, 2013

Leonard B. Ortiz

Leonard B. Ortiz, a lifelong resident of Ventura County, died Saturday, February 2, 2013, at the age of 83. His death followed a long illness. 

Leonard was born April 11, 1929 in Fillmore, CA to Crescencio and Bartola Ortiz and was the sixth of nine children. As a young teenager he ran cattle along the Santa Clara River, and attended Ventura High School prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army where he served in Japan at the end of WWII. 

Upon leaving the Army, he went to work loading and hauling dairy hay from Kern County to Oxnard. In 1952 he founded Ortiz Brothers Trucking, Inc. along with three of his brothers. The company went on to become preeminent in regional agricultural hauling. 

In 1977 the brothers founded 4B Industries, another agribusiness enterprise. In addition, Leonard owned or was a partner in other businesses, including Saticoy Hay and Grain, Ortiz Ranches, and KSTV Channel 57. 

He was a founder of Ventura County National Bank and sat on the board of directors of many local community organizations, including The United Way, Interface Family Services, Community Memorial Hospital, and Easter Seals. Leonard performed additional community service as member of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Posse, the Ventura County Republican Party, and the Saticoy Lions Club, and was a benefactor of St. Thomas Aquinas College in Ojai. 

Leonard had an active social life as a member of the Saticoy Country Club, The Tower Club, The Ventura County Dance Club, The Museum of Ventura County, and more.

In 1954 he married Maria Guadalupe Bravo, whom he had known since early childhood, and who remained his constant companion throughout life. The couple raised four children. 

He is survived by his wife, Maria Bravo Ortiz. Children include Dean Ortiz (Vicki), Lydia Ortiz Thomson (Scott), David Ortiz and Cecilia Ortiz. Grandchildren include Christopher Ortiz, Jessica Parker Zavala, Andrew Thomson, Heather Thomson Pitt (Anthony), and Sarah Thomson. Siblings include Frank B. and Eugenia Ortiz, John B. and Rosario Ortiz, Eddie and Margi Ortiz, and sister-in-law, Lupe V. Ortiz as well as many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Joe B. Ortiz, Patrick B. Ortiz and Manuel B. Ortiz; and sisters, Jenny Lorenzana, Antonia Casas and Sally O. Baca.

The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at Community Memorial Hospital for the excellent care they provided during a long and complicated illness. In particular, we would like to mention Dr. Cary Savitch, Dr. Art Inoshita, Dr. George Mitchell, and the ICU and CCU teams. We are also grateful to the respiratory department, especially Dawne Fowkes Cushing, and to the entire staff on the 4th floor.

For the last two years Leonard received dialysis treatment at Fresenius Dialysis Center in Santa Paula and received excellent care there, especially from Jane Tarin Smithson, who became like a daughter to him.

Services: Viewing Sunday, February 10, 2013 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Skillin Carroll Mortuary in Santa Paula. Reception high noon to 3 p.m. at the Ventura County Agricultural Museum in Santa Paula.

There will be a private burial.

Arrangements are under the direction of Skillin Carroll Mortuary, Santa Paula.

Celia Diaz

Celia (Sally) Diaz passed away peacefully on the morning of February 5, 2013. She was born in the summer of 1931 to Luis (Papa Louie) and Elvira (Mia) Leon in the small town of Santa Paula. Since her father worked for various Rancheros during the depression, her childhood was spent growing up in Rancho Sespe. 

Having an older sister (Dolores) and older brother (Luis) and a kid brother (Benny), they found plenty of things to do and ways to get into trouble. Growing older, her interests and personal skills developed. She loved to sew, paint, garden & cook. (God…could she cook!)   

As her teenage years developed, so did her interest in a cute but shy boy named Tony Diaz. He was part of the legendary gymnastic teams of Santa Paula High. He became the gleam in the light of a lot of girls’ eyes, but after 64 years together, well girls… sorry, she won.  

In 1952, her husband started to help his parents in their cantina (Las Quince Letras) offering food daily and creating a café. One day, Tony’s mother Pepa asked Celia if she would help her make tamales… 60 years later, she still would grind her own masa, cook and season her own meat, then fold all the tamales by hand (marriage creates job security). 

Through the years, she was blessed with five children: Sandi, Mike, Dan, Norma and Joel. She always has said, “The best moments in my life have been the mother hen with all my baby chicks and rooster by my side.” 

As her children grew up, and slowly started to move out, her interests in helping the community grew. She has proudly served on the board of the Santa Paula Historical Society for the last 30 years. She was actively involved for a number of years with the Santa Paula Theater Committee. She helped with the Main Street Museum, Archive committees and, with her diligent dedication, she was the “photographer, creator and keeper” of the Historical Society’s enormous scrapbook. Through the years, with the help of her husband Tony, they were part of the founding core of the downtown mural committee. She was honored with three other women to receive the first Women of Distinction award for Santa Paula.  

Her curiosity and interest in new and exciting things has led her to visit over 40 countries. She started teaching cooking classes at age 70, which in turn inspired her to publish her own cookbook at age 74. At age 75, she graduated from Westlake Culinary Institute and celebrated her 80th birthday by jumping off a mountain by a paraglide… not once, but twice!   

She constantly said that she was blessed to have her children marry spouses that she considered extended children of her own. She had very strong religious convictions and beliefs, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” As this is being written, she is of ill health feeling God’s hand reaching for her, and soon we all know she will reach back.  

A special thank you to Dr. Stan Frochtzwajg, and all the assisting nurses at Livingston Memorial Hospice. She wants to say thank you to everyone who has loved, lived and laughed with her. A long, warm “besito” to all her children and grandchildren. God bless you all! 

Most of all, thank you Mi Amor for the last 64 years… “Siempre te Amare.” 

A rosary in her honor will be held on Tuesday, February 12 at St. Sebastian Church, Santa Paula at 10:30 a.m., followed by a mass at 11. A Celebration of Celia’s Life will be held immediately following at the Santa Paula Community Center, 530 W. Main St., Santa Paula, CA. 

In lieu of flowers donations may be made in memory of Celia Diaz to the American Cancer Society.

 Arrangements are under the direction of Skillin Carroll Mortuary, Santa Paula.

Exa Hortense Yarbrough

Born April 8, 1922

Died February 3, 2013

Exa was born to Dan and Minnie Senior Sinyard Pilkington. She was married to Rev. Willard Yarbrough. Together they had 10 children.

Exa is survived by sons Thomas, James and Frank Yarbrough; daughters Joyce Stockton, Lois Henderson, Carolyn Knowles and Nancy Yarbrough; grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by Rev. Willard Yarbrough (a World War II vet), sons Wayne, Joe and Tim Yarbrough, and daughter Joann (Yarbrough) Maddox.

Graveside services were held February 6 at Santa Paula Cemetery.

Mary Lou R. Beltran

Mary Lou R. Beltran age 81 passed away in Santa Paula Hospital on Jan. 29, 2013 of renal disease. She was born Dec. 16, 1931 in Santa Paula, Ca.

Mary Lou worked for Burmite, Santa Paula Unified School District before becoming a partner with her husband Perfecto in the business of Perfect Plumbing for over 30 yrs.

She was survived by her husband Perfecto of 62 yrs. Cousin Pete Merez of Stockton, Ca. Sons Larry, Paul, Perfecto Jr. and Kirk. Daughters Dyan Ruff and Evonne Jean Beltran. She has 11 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. 

She was preceded in death by son Dick Beltran, Mother Genoveva Reyes, brothers Paulino and Savino Reyes

Visitation will be held on Friday February 8, 2013 from 5-9pm with rosary at 7pm at Funeraria del Angel Stetler’s Mortuary. Funeral Mass will be on Saturday Feb. 9, 2013, 9:30am at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Santa Paula.

Arrangements are under the direction of Funeraria Del Angel Stetler’s Mortuary, Santa Paula.