DOLORES RUIZ BLAIR
Mar. 9, 1932 - Aug. 18, 2013
Dolores Ruiz Blair went home to be with our Lord and Savior on August 18, 2013. She was born March 9, 1932 to Spanish immigrants, Manuel Ruiz Guillen and Engracia Bueno Flores.
Dolores' parents left Spain in 1913, sailing across the Atlantic, around the horn to the Hawaiian Islands. After years of working for Dole, they were able to purchase passage to the Mainland, and a home in San Leandro, CA, where Dolores was born. "Dolly" was the youngest of 16 children, only six of whom survived past childhood. She came to the Imperial Valley at the age of 17 with her mother, and graduated from Central Union High School.
Soon after her move, she met Merle A. Blair, son of Lena (Pirtle) Blair Horton (Monroe). They married in Yuma, and returned to Holtville to live and raise their son, Merle "Alan," and four daughters, Kevin, Kristi, Karla, and Kelly.
Dolores worked as a stenographer at the old Barbara Worth Hotel, before becoming a mother and homemaker. She later returned to work as a secretary for the California Labor Commissioner, and retired from working after several years with the Holtville Jr. High School as its "no-nonsense" front office secretary.
A people person, Dolores had an infectious laugh, and was generally the life of the party. She and Merle loved to dance, and jitterbugged on many a Valley dance floor. Shooting archery for many years, they also founded the B-Lo-C Archery Club in Holtville. Dolores garnered an amazing vocabulary by reading the dictionary as a child to learn English, and became an expert at crossword puzzles. She sang with "Mother's Singers," and later with the "Sweet Adelines" ensemble. Raising her children, Dolores took an active role in their school activities, chaperoning Vikette and Job's Daughters outings throughout the 1970s.
After retirement, Dolores and Merle spent summer months in their RV at Lake Cuyamaca, where she volunteered in the clubhouse. In later years, the summer months found them returning to the marina in her beloved San Leandro. For the past few years, Dolores has resided at Parent's Place, a faith-based assisted living facility in Brawley. The family is grateful to Cynthia and Demetrius Williams and their staff (especially Audrey) for their devotion to her care.
Dolores was preceded in death by her parents, husband, Merle, and youngest daughter, Kelly Berg. She is survived by her children, Alan (Carol) of Maryland, Kevin Dagen of Texas, Kristi Blair, Karla (Bob) Horne, and son-in-law Danny Berg all of El Centro; sister-in-law, Wanda (Charlie) Layton of Holtville; grandchildren, Jasmine Bonillas, Vanessa Blair, Davy (Wendy) Angulo, Josiah (Channell) and Joshua Hague, Alexandra and Chelsea Woolman, Christen Horne (Preston) Ryerson, Mitchell and Jennifer Horne, and Nicolas and Jasiel Berg, as well as great-grandchildren Taylor and Chloe Bonillas; Ryan and Genevieve Angulo; and Allie, Nathan and Isaiah Hague and numerous nieces and nephews.
Dolores was a 20+ year survivor of breast cancer, before suffering a recurrence in 2012. After an 18 month struggle, she quietly left for "home," a trip she looked forward to for several years, to be with Merle and Kelly. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Between Women, Inc., P.O. Box 1225, Brawley, CA, 92227.
An informal gathering to celebrate Dolores' life will take place Saturday, September 7, from 2 to 5 p.m., at the home of Bob and Karla Horne, 2765 W. Main St., El Centro.