Mary Mercedes Arballo Magana passed away peacefully at home on August 9, 2021, at the age of 98.
Mary was born in Nestor, CA on Sept. 24, 1922 on the family’s small ranch. Her mother died when Mary was only 7 years old. Her mother, who had been a teacher, made her husband promise that Mary would receive an education.
During the depression, the family moved to North County where her father found work at the area farms and ranches. The family settled in Del Mar in 1936. Their house is now the Del Mar Historical Society Museum located on the fairgrounds.
Mary graduated from San Dieguito High School in 1940.
She recalls working at the La Paloma Theater in Encinitas on Dec. 7, 1941 when the local Sheriff rode up on his horse to inform the audience of the attack on Pearl Harbor and all military personnel where to report to duty immediately.
In 1947 Mary married childhood friend Angel Magana. She attended San Diego State Teachers College, now San Diego State, graduating in 1948, at the time one of the few Hispanic women to do so. She returned to San Dieguito High School as the first certified teacher, where she taught for 3 years.
She then went to work for San Diego Unified School District in 1951 as a teacher at Dana Jr. High in Pt. Loma and retired as the Acting Principal of Marston Jr. High in Clairemont in 1977.
After retirement, she worked at Rady’s Children’s Hospital and the San Diego County Fair Flower & Garden Show. She was active in the San Dieguito High School Academy Alumni Committee and participated in many Fallen Alumni Service events to represent her classmates and students who passed away in WWII and the Korean War. She retired again to help care for her great-grandchildren.
Mary had a strong faith in God and a positive attitude, often saying that despite many ups and downs in life she was blessed. Her wish to everyone was to know that “From nothing we can be someone and to always pay it forward.”
She is survived by her two children Luana Gonzales (Alfonso) and Charles Magana (Carole), five grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, many nieces, nephews and loved ones.
Mary was predeceased by her husband Angel, sister Helen Ebert and brothers William and Robert Arballo.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Sept. 27 at p.m. at St. James Catholic Church, Solana Beach.