Estella Maria Tafoya
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March 29, 1933 – Nov. 10, 2012
Stella Tafoya was born in her father's village of Penjamo, Guanajuato to Ramon Tafoya Soto and Maria Guadalupe Arellano Ceballos. The Tafoyas returned to their home in Woodland that same year.
Stella began her lifelong love of school at Holy Rosary Academy, from which she would graduate in 1951. The first in her family to go on to a four-year college, she graduated from St. Mary's of the Wasatch, in Salt Lake City in 1955. While there, she proudly became a U.S. citizen. Upon graduation, Stella pursued a teaching credential. Over the next 36 years she would teach primarily first and second grades at both private and public schools, beginning with Holy Rosary in Woodland.
In Sacramento, Stella taught at the old Lincoln School until it closed then briefly at Newton Booth, before a permanent home at Freeport Elementary. Over the year, she would have student whose parents she also taught. She had been recruited to go into school administrator, but declined, believing she could make the most difference in the lives of children by remaining in the classroom. She taught approximately 1,000 children to read and write. Stella had been recently honored by the Mexican-American Concilio of Yolo County for her dedication to education.
Stella was equally devoted to her family, working in the family business, Tafoya's Market and Scales, during her summers. When her mother became frail with age, Stella retired from teaching to become her mother's principal caregiver. She was one of 15 children in her family, only 11 living into adulthood. She was preceded in death by her parents, sister, Mary Perry, brother Eugene Tafoya, and niece Rene Tafoya. She is survived by sisters Helena Ochoa, Martha Christensen (Oscar), Lupe Villareal (Gilbert), brothers Ramond (Lupe), Salvador, Ruben (Yolanda), Xavier, and David Tafoya (Tina), and their families, all of Woodland. Stella is also beloved by numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and their families throughout Yolo County, far too numerous to list.
A rosary will be held at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, at McNary's Funeral Chapel, 458 College St., in Woodland. The funeral mass will be at 10:30 a.m., on Wednesday, Nov. 21, at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 301 Walnut St., Woodland. This will be followed by the burial at Monument Hill Memorial Park, 35036 CR- 22, Woodland. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Stella's name to the Ramon S. Tafoya Elementary PTA.
Published in Daily Democrat from Nov. 16 to Dec. 10, 2012
458 College Street Woodland, CA 95695