Obituary Listings

Jesse Santillan

August 12, 1937 November 2, 2018
Jesse Santillan
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Obituary for Jesse Santillan

Jesse Santillan, 81, of Santa Maria, CA peacefully passed away at his home on November 2, 2018 surrounded by his wife and children. He was born in Chihuahua, Mexico on August 12, 1937. When he was 3 years old, he moved with his family to Guadalupe where he attended elementary and junior high school.

After graduating from Santa Maria High School in 1957, Jesse worked for the U.S. Forestry Service and then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps where he became a United States citizen while stationed at Camp Pendleton. He served in Okinawa Japan, Singapore and three deployments to the Philippines. He also crossed the equator en route to Lebanon, however his tank battalion was unable to disembark and stayed aboard ship. He returned home briefly to marry his high school sweetheart Delia Quesada in May of 1959. While in the Marines, Jesse was awarded the Good Conduct Medal before being Honorably Discharged in 1960. He continued his service in the USMC Reserve until 1963.

After completing his military duty, Jesse returned home and worked at Wayne’s Tire for 2 years. He was then hired by the City of Santa Maria where he began a 32 year career with the Recreation and Parks Department. He was hired as a Park Maintenance employee and was promoted over the years to ultimately retire as a Crew Leader/Maintenance Specialist. Jesse was also awarded Employee of the Year in 1971 and again in 1993. Upon his retirement, he was honored by having a street named after him: Santillan Avenue in the Westgate Ranch development. In addition to his regular duties with the city he was a Special Police Officer with the SM Police Department from 1964 to 1973 and thereafter an Auxiliary Police Officer until 1977 volunteering during “times of emergency”.

While working full time and raising his family, Jesse’s love of education inspired him to earn various degrees from Allan Hancock College including: a Certificate of Completion in Supervisory Management, Associate of Science Degree in Supervisory Management, Associate of Science Degree in Business Administration, Associate of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts as well as an Associate of Science Degree in Applied Arts.

Jesse also loved his Santa Maria community and enjoyed volunteering his time serving on various committees that included the California League of City Employee Association as Director/Secretary (4 years), City of SM Employees Association as Vice President (4 years) & President (4 Years), SM Employees Federal Credit Union as Chairman of Loan Committee, Member of the National Management Association where he founded the Professional Development Committee, Commissioner for the Community Action Commission, Board of Directors at the SM Valley YMCA, 46 year member of the Elks Lodge and a member of the local VFW, AFU and Marine Corps League.

Jesse enjoyed spending time with his wife, playing golf, was an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan and loved attending his grandchildren’s various sporting activities and adventurous trips with his family. He also enjoyed old westerns and classic war movies, oldies and mariachi music. During his years in Guadalupe he and his best friend Johnny Perry started the “Phantoms” Car Club and enjoyed customizing their cars. His love of cars continued later to where he modified his 4x4’s and enjoyed 4-wheeling at the Oceano Sand Dunes.

Jesse (Jess) is survived by his wife Delia (Dee) of 59 years, His two sons; Jesse Jr. Santillan, Steve Santillan (Rene) and his daughter Dena Castro (Tom), followed by seven grandchildren: Rayann, Jacob, Mariah, Isabell, Zac, Marissa, Vanessa and his great grandson Cristian, brothers Sal and Joe Saucedo (Sylvia) and sister Rosalie Cox (Danny).

Jesse is preceded in death by his mother Lolly, father Tedocio, uncles Raymond, Blaus, Manuel and Mike, brothers Mike, Richard, Danny, Frank, sister Olivia as well as granddaughter Kristina.

A public visitation service will be held at Dudley-Hoffman Mortuary on Wednesday, November 7th, 5pm with a Rosary at 6pm.

A celebration of life will be held Thursday, November 8th, 11am at St John Neumann Church in Santa Maria followed by burial at the Santa Maria Cemetery. A reception will immediately follow at the Santa Maria Elks Lodge.

As Dad would say: “When facing adversity - Adjust and Adapt”.
You will be missed - we love you Dad.


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