Delfino (Dell) Joseph Mora

Date of Death

November 23, 2017

Santa Barbara native son, Delfino (Dell) Joseph Mora, May 1930-November 2017, passed peacefully on Thanksgiving morning with his wife Jean of 52 years, son Armand, granddaughter Alea. As a ninth generation Santa Barbarian, Dell had a long family history in Santa Barbara as the son of Delfino Mora and Matilda Carrillo. Dell’s maternal grandfather has established well-known chronicles related to Seline Carrillo, who was born in the Carrillo Adobe a historical building in downtown Santa Barbara. In addition, before the introduction of the automobile, Seline was acclaimed the last stagecoach driver from Santa Barbara to Gaviota maneuvering over the Old San Marcos Road.

With his impressive California heritage, it is easy for others to understand Dell’s approach for all aspects of his life and work with determination and tenacity of a champion. These characteristics were displayed in his early years with his struggle with polio, shown in his sportsmanship as an exemplary athlete, creative design and metal worker, and his overall “can do” strengths.

After completing his early education, Dell became a skilled tradesman as a sheet metal worker that created, installed, and repaired sheet metal products. Most commonly these products included elements of heating, cooling, and ventilation systems. During these years he was employed by R.P Richards. Upon his retirement in 1986, he continued his creative quest as an artist and craftsman by building a private metal shop. Here he completed many projects, such as custom residential and commercial barbeques. Further, through his ingenious creative talent, the home was well-styled with the toils of his work with candleholders, coffee tables, sofa tables, and other decorative artifacts. Unfortunately, he met one of his greatest losses during the Painted Cave Fire in 1990 when the family home was burned. Never one to dwell on loss, he forged ahead to design and rebuild a beautiful home for his family, where he utilized his construction aptitude to its completion.

Probably the most outstanding conquests were Dell’s athletic prowess, which started in high school through his adult years in various sports. He grew up in Santa Barbara and was an outstanding multi-sport athlete at Santa Barbara High School. This included an integral part of the backfield on the football team that went to the 1949 CIF football championship. There were also activities in baseball, basketball, and track and field. Next, handball got his attention. Even though he was a late starter, not playing the game until he was in his late 30s. He went on to a great career in handball, playing in the finals of 20 United States Handball Association singles and doubles tournaments, and winning 15 0f those contests. In addition, he was inducted into the SCHA Hall of Fame in 1996. Through these endeavors he was also representing the community of Santa Barbara so well on both local and national levels.

Dell was also committed to sharing his skills with younger players and spent considerable time in their development in Santa Barbara at the Goleta Athletic Club. This coaching also extended to the Kauai Athletic Club in Hawaii. He gave the same focus to these new handball players. He developed a close relationship with these young players and consequently, Lihue, Kauai became a destination spot for developing young enthusiastic players.

Dell leaves behind his family: wife Jean Mora; sister and husband Marlene and Rueben Pacheco and their daughters Dominique and Pillar; son Armand Mora, granddaughter Alea; great granddaughter Sandy Holden Lopez and children Tymika, Shania, and Junior; stepson Greg Shields and wife Debbie and their daughter Vannessa.

Dell certainly left his mark on the world of those who knew him. We loved him and we will miss him, as were part of his large circle of friends in Santa Barbara.

Safe travels, Dell – we will miss you.

At Dell’s request a celebration of life will not be held.

Contributions from: Armand Mora, Penny Paine, and Randy Multack


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