Dora Padilla
1934 - 2021
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Oct. 4, 1934 - Jan. 8, 2021 Dora Padilla, a longtime trustee in the Alhambra Unified School District, has died from COVID-19. She grew up in East Los Angeles with her parents, Mexican immigrants Herman Swarto and Soledad Swarto (nee Maese), and sister Solange. After graduating from Bishop Conaty High School, she worked as a secretary for the architectural firm Barker & Ott. She became a homemaker after marrying Al Padilla in 1956, but the secretarial skills never left, and decades later she took notes at school board meetings in shorthand. A self-described "PTA mom" frustrated by a lethargic school board, she successfully ran for office in 1978. She served five terms, the last devoted to major renovations at Alhambra High, where the library was named in her honor. She was a frequent defender of arts education, opposing proposals to cut back funding on instruction for music and visual arts. Her campaign slogan came from an inspirational message she had seen painted on a wall during a family vacation in Mexico: "Querer al ni¤o es educarlo." To love a child is to educate a child. It's not surprising that many of her children's friends took to calling her "Mom" too. Last year, her husband died in October of natural causes and her eldest son, Daniel, died in March following a stroke. She is survived by daughter Lisa and son Steve. A celebration of life will be held in the future. Donations may be made in her honor to the scholarship fund of the Alhambra Latino Assn.:

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Published in Whittier Daily News on Jan. 19, 2021.
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January 19, 2021
Thank you to a lovely lady who devoted much of her life to education. I am indebted to you for your oft taken stand to preserve and promote music education in Alhambra Schools. May the memories of your cherished Mom comfort you.
Suzanne Clason
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