In memory of my Great Grandmother. April 2009. You are thought of very often I know you are gardening in heaven. Love you!
-Aurora C. de Calvillo
In memory of my mother, Aurora C. de Calvillo, who suffered for approximately thirteen years with this disease. I hate it b/c of my fears of its genetics and am hopeful for its cure. I applaud everyone involved in sponsoring and helping making this event happen!
-by Ophelia D. Calvillo
Honoring a Father
This 5k fell on my Father’s Birthday and it was the first one without him. I felt it was the best way to spend the day honoring him. My friends joined me and walked in his memory as well. It not only was for a good cause but a part of my grieving process. I will be back next year.
As a family we were honored to be in the 2009 race in memory of my dad and my kids Papa, Frank Zwolinksi. As Papa’s Team we are indebted to the Alzheimer Aid Society for supporting us from the beginning of my Dad’s diagnosis. They supplied us with reading material, support groups, newsletters, and were always there to answer our questions and offer support.
-by Donna Madeira
I loved this run. It is so well organized, the location was lovely, and the sponsors and volunteers so helpful. I particularly appreciate that we were provided the opportunity to designate a person whom we were honoring, in my case my mother who has Alzheimers. Thank you for making this a memorable day. I was inspired by many.
-by (Jean) Ann Moylan
Amado Fierro Guzman
Amado Fierro Guzman was born in Calipatria, California, and raised in Northern Baja California Mexico in what is known as the Mexicali Valley in a small rural community known as the Ejido Sonora. He had no formal education, but learned as a child to be a mechanic. He worked tirelessly to help his family and then moved to the US to work in farm labor and then as a mechanic for the Southern Pacific Railroad, where he worked for over 40 years. He married Annie Guzman and together they had four daughters. Although he never attended school, he emphasized education to all of his daughters and grandchildren. He sent each of his daughters to the University of California, Davis, and produced a mechanical engineer, an attorney, a financial analyst and a sixth grade school teacher. His grandchildren continue his educational dream by attending college, and together they have three Bachelor’s degree, one Master’s and another MBA in progress from Cornell University. He was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease in mid stages about four years after he retired from the railroad. Although the disease robbed him of his voice, he spoke through his large beautiful brown eyes and his soft hands. He died surrounded by 25 members of his family at his home in June of 2005.
Amado Guzman taught his family several important key lessons: (1) to work harder than anyone else, (2) to love and honor your family, (3) to appreciate culture and its music, language, customs and foods, (4) to strive for a better education, and (5) to dream- to always dream and set goals and objectives for the future. He didn’t realize how powerful his messages were to his family. Although he had no formal education, he clearly understood the power of an education and the need to dream, to set goals and to work hard. He also taught his family the importance of being decent, human beings who care for the world, for people and the environment.
We have several beautiful memories of our father. Here are a few:
- In the middle of his illness, when he could still walk, he would follow us to try to be our helper in whatever we were doing. One day, I came home to paint a room for my sister who was moving in to help. I had a large, framed picture of his favorite granddaughter (they were all his favorite), and he said “Wow. How beautiful”… as he put his face into the picture. He then turned to me and asked “Who is it?” and I was crushed. I continued to go into the other room to clear it out and he followed me to help. I would hand him things. On the wall, he saw an old, velvet rug with the image of President John F. Kennedy who he had always admired. He pointed to that rug and said “Goo…. goood man… He helped people….. they killed him… best president.” Here I stood not having spent more than five minutes with him and him not having remembered my niece, and yet he was able to remember President Kennedy with ease. I cried.
- The last weekend I saw him alive we celebrated the birthday of my one year old at the time nephew. He lived with my father and although my dad had cloudy eyes for months, he still somehow knew that the small thing crawling around was a child and that we needed to be careful around it. I sat on his bed and played the guitar as he had taught me to many years ago. I sang to him his favorite Mexican songs. He placed one of his hands on the neck of the guitar so as to almost feel the music, and then with the other hand he stroked my face. He looked into my eyes with those big beautiful brown eyes and I knew he was singing with me inside.
-by Melinda Guzman
We are walking in memory of our friend, softball & basketball coach, high school math teacher and neighbor, Mr. Brown. Rick Brown was the father of our classmates, who coached us in softball as youth, later in our high school he taught us math and coached us in basketball. His mind began to slip away when he was too young, around 54 years old. But our memories of the many good times will be with is forever. Thank you Mr.Brown!
-by Cat, Mark, Erin, Eric, Kathleen
My daughter, grandson, sister, and I walked last year in the annual Alzheimers memorial race. We were so moved by the outpouring of families and loved ones that we are doing it again. We are coming from as far away as Colorado to do this.
-by Melanie Tilley
Marion Joy Whitely
Marion Joy Whitely was born 5 September 1914 in Wilson, Oklahoma. She was the daughter of William “Jess” Whitely and Intha Ann Tilley. She was the sixth of nine children. Her mother lived until age 107 and four of her siblings lived past age 95. To us she was known as “Grandmother Joy”.
At age 16 the family moved to New Mexico where she met and married Orval West and they had three sons, Jack, Don and Richard. They later moved to Martinez, California but divorced when Richard was very young.
In 1953 she married Joseph Willis Coleman. Joe was an officer in the Air Force and they bought a home in North Highlands near McClellan AFB. Joe called her “Joy-Belle” and she called him “Jay-Dub”. Military life had them moving quite a bit; they were stationed in England and Virginia for several years until they permanently retired in their North Highlands home. They were married for 42 years until Joe’s death in 1996 from cancer.
Joy remained in their home and continued her routine of working in the yard and attending family gatherings and church functions. She was a devout member of the Arcade Wesleyn Methodist Church and attended weekly Bible study groups.
The only TV program she ever watched regularly was “Jeopardy” – otherwise she always had music playing. She LOVED music! She was also a master gardener. Her yard was HUGE and she always had a vegetable garden. Her roses were the pride of the neighborhood. She also had gigantic cactus – some as high as 6 ft. tall. People would drive by and stop to look at her beautiful yard and compliment her on it. For years, she and Joe were members of both the Cactus Club and Rock Hound Club. They would go on yearly trips to the desert to collect rocks and petrified wood and almost always have grandkids tagging along on the adventure.
Her greatest joy were her children and grandchildren and eventually her great-grandchildren too. She went EVERYWHERE with us…football games, motocross races, horse shows, camping, Disneyland, motorhome trips all over the western states – where ever we were going, Grandmother Joy went with us.
In 2002 her memory began to slip – we just thought it was typical for her age but eventually the Alzheimer’s diagnosis became official. The disease not only took its toll on her mentally, but physically. She had always been able to get around, but soon she forgot how to do common, everyday things. That’s probably what bothered the family the most and finally she had to be placed in assisted living.
As to her memory, yes, she forgot we had been to visit her the day before, but she often remembered past memories as if they just happened yesterday. To us – that was a good thing.
Our memories, however, are all in tact and we feel blessed we had Grandmother Joy for 93 years. She left behind 3 sons, 9 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great grandchildren. We will always remember her love of ham and cheese sandwiches, ice cream, Coca-Cola, fried Okra, McDonalds hamburgers, Big-Band Music, books, and a thousand other little things.
We also remember her love for her family and the Lord. We miss you Grandmother Joy. We honor your memory everyday by striving to be as feisty, opinionated, adventuresome, loyal, kind and loving as you were.
-by Lisa West
Diane Helen Jensen
Diane Jensen was born in Oakland, California September 20, 1934 to Helen and Nicholas De Lucia. She was raised by her parents on a palm tree lined street on San Francisco Boulevard with siblings Nicky, Susan, Andy, Tom, and Marian. She married Boyd Jensen at the age of 22 in 1957. She was married to Boyd for 51 years. She died January 17, 2009 after a six year struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Diane lived a beautiful life. Her joy in life was amplified by the arrival of her children, the satisfaction of wonderful friendships, and employing her creative talents. An excellent seamstress, she made wedding dresses for her four daughters. She sewed twenty seven beautiful quilts which will be given to each of her grandchildren when the leave home for school or marriage. Over the years Diane directed over twenty major musicals. Her fourteen year involvement with the Elk Grove Strauss Festival included choreographing polkas and teaching young dancers for each year’s production. An avid gardener, Diane’s rose arrangements were received by hundreds of grateful friends and family members over the years.
Diane’s greatest accomplishment in life has been the loving care she gave her family. She has seven children and thirty four grandchildren. Throughout her life Diane has been a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. With her husband she served missions to The Hill Cumorah Historic Sites in upstate New York and The Museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City, Utah.
As we travel along life’ journey, we find shining moments that make grand memories. Diane is a cherished part of these memories. Her life was never wasted. She served, loved, and left her mark. Diane Jensen’s kindness and generosity have been felt by many and we will miss her.
-by Boyd Jensen