ESCONDIDO — In the fourth of eight 2021 Escondido Legend biographies, meet Maximino “Max” Limon and Viola Atilano. The Escondido History Center will present a $1,000 honorarium, in their name, to an outstanding senior from a high school in Escondido.
From the time “Max” Atilano arrived in Escondido as an immigrant to the United States in the early twentieth century he and Viola worked toward forging bonds in the community and are now recognized as 2021 Escondido Forever Legends.
Born in 1900 in Jalisco, Mexico, Max came to Escondido at the age of 16. He had worked in Texas picking oranges and lemons before coming to this area. Eventually, Max became a field foreman for the Escondido Lemon Association where he was respected as a liaison between management and field workers. On March 17, 1926, Max married Viola Pacheco of Oceanside. Viola worked at the lemon-packing house for 38 years. They had four children, three sons and one daughter – Pete, Robert, Raulie and Rosalia.
Through the Mexican American Association of Escondido, Max and Viola were pivotal in bringing the Mexican-American community together by celebrating both countries’ independence days. For several decades, Max was also instrumental in organizing events at the Eagle’s Hall and Grape Day Park, as well as parades on Grand Avenue.
Music was a passion in Max’s life and playing an instrument was part of the family legacy, as each of his children became life-long musicians. In addition, he was the band leader of two well-known music groups in North County—the “Nighthawks” and the “Troubadours.” He was also an active member of the Knights of Columbus for more than 70 years.
After Max’s death, Viola was the matriarch of the family with included 14 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great grandchildren. Viola was very active at St. Mary’s Church, the Ladies of Resurrection, Grandmother’s Club, Escondido Blind Club, senior volunteer with North County Centro and VFW Women’s Auxiliary.
Max and Viola encouraged members of their church to volunteer to make Escondido a better place to live. Volunteering was one of Max and Viola’s enduring efforts as an ideal way of giving back to the community. Through their deeds, words, and music Maximino Limon and Viola Atilano led their family and community to build inclusiveness and well-being in Escondido for the better part of a century. Now they are honored as 2021 Escondido Forever Legends.