Tuesday, November 13 , 2018, 3:17 pm | Fair 72º


Memorial Planned For Joann Marmolejo, Former Santa Barbara County Labor Leader

Joann Marmolejo, a former Santa Maria Valley labor leader, has died months after several women she helped get elected united to recognize her support. 

Marmolejo, 77, of Santa Maria passed away March 8, and will be remembered Saturday with a celebration of her life from noon to 5 p.m. A program is planned for approximately 1 p.m. at the Santa Maria Veterans Memorial Cultural Center. 

In December, Santa Barbara County woman politicians including Congresswoman Lois Capps, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, Santa Maria Councilwoman Terri Zuniga and Joyce Howerton gathered to express their appreciation for Marmolejo’s support of campaigns and other issues through the years. 

After undergoing radiation for lung cancer in June 2014, Marmolejo learned she had cancer in her lungs, lymph nodes and adrenal gland. With no known cure and a 9-month life expectancy, she opted against chemotherapy or additional treatment.

“Until the end Joann, did it her way by emailing people on important issues facing Santa Barbara County,” said Howerton, an aide to Jackson and a former Lompoc mayor. 

Zuniga noted the loss of Marmolejo during the Santa Maria City Council meeting Tuesday night.

“Our community has lost a staunch advocate for working families, represented workers and those often disenfranchised, with the passing of Joann Marmolejo,” Zuniga said. “Joann was generous with her time, money and her talents. She was always up for a challenge and helped many organizations and nonprofits. 

“For me she became a trusted friend and confidant, almost single-handedly running my 2010 and 2012 campaigns. My prayers and condolences go out to her sons and their families. The world will definitely not be the same without her in it.”

A job in the grocery industry led Marmolejo into union membership that grew into working for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union on the Central Coast.

Survivors include her four sons, Mark, Perry, Robert and Reggie. She also has seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. 

Marmolejo was active in the Santa Maria Community Coalition, the League of Women Voters, the Democratic Club of the Santa Maria Valley and the Santa Barbara County Action Network.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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