Elvira V. Villegas

Elvira V. Villegas quietly left us to be with the Lord on May 2, 2020. She had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for a number of years and passed away peacefully.

Elvira was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, on Sept. 5, 1925. She was the oldest of six children, born to Juan and Maria de Jesus Vega. She attended local schools in Chihuahua, then attended El Colegio Palmore, graduating with a diploma in bookkeeping and shorthand in 1941. Her first job after graduating was working in the accounting office of a local wholesaler.

Later that year, Elvira met a young man, Louie Villegas, at a New Year’s Eve dance in Chihuahua. Louie and his family had moved back to Chihuahua from Santa Barbara. Elvira and Louie soon started dating, which began their long lasting relationship.

Not long after the start of World War II, Louie was called to active duty in the U.S. Navy, but promised to return to Chihuahua when the war was over. He was discharged in 1945. He kept his promise and the following year, Louie and Elvira were married in Chihuahua on Feb. 23,1946.

Louie and Elvira moved to Santa Barbara to start their new life. Together they raised two children, Luz Maria and Luis Alfonso. They were together for the next 69 years until Louie’s passing in 2015.

After arriving to Santa Barbara, Elvira gradually became accustomed to her new way of life with the help of family and friends. Like many after the war, Elvira found work at the Johnson Fruit Co. She worked alongside other women, washing and packing lemons at the packing house. Many of her co-workers became lifelong friends.

Elvira also worked for a short time at La Tolteca during its early years. Over the next 20 years, Elvira worked as a domestic worker in many homes in Santa Barbara.

Elvira was an avid reader in both English and Spanish. She enjoyed many of the classic novels as well as mysteries and biographies of historical figures. One of her favorite hobbies was tending to her garden, especially her roses and fruit trees. Another of her pleasures was dining and interacting with members of Club Amigos Latinos, a local social club.

Later in life, Elvira enjoyed knitting and for a number of years volunteered her time and donated many of her knitted items to those in need. During many summers and holiday seasons, Elvira enjoyed returning to Mexico to visit her family members and childhood friends.

What brought her the most joy were special gatherings and celebrations with her immediate family and friends in Santa Barbara.     

Elvira is preceded in death by her late husband Louie, and survived by her two children Luz Buckelew (Pablo) and Luis Villegas (Raquel Lopez).

Elvira was also very proud of her six granddaughters Rebecca Borgioli, Ariana Alvarez, Paloma Arnold, Maritza Best, Bianca Vega and Alessandra Villegas, who blessed her with 11 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by two sisters and brothers Alfonso, Graciela, Efren, Carolina residing in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Elvira was a kind and loving individual with a keen sense of respect, honor and integrity. She will be missed by all that knew her and loved her. A memorial mass and celebration of Elvira’s life will be held in the future when we are allowed to gather together again.