On Friday, November 26, 2021, Delia Ruan Campos passed peacefully into the arms of the Lord at the age of 91. She was born in Herreras, Durango, Mexico, to Aurora and Pedro Ruan (Ruano). She grew up in Santiago Papasquiaro and recalled an idyllic childhood. Her father and mother owned a retail business, and her father served as the township’s local judge. She would attend the Instituto Juarez in the City of Durango. A change in circumstances prompted the family to move their lives and business to Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. The Ruan sisters, all five, would find their way to the Alta California.
Delia moved to the U.S. at the age of 16. Upon arrival, she began working for the Goleta Valley Lemon Association packinghouse where she caught the eye of photographers working for an agricultural trade publication. They took pictures of her picking, sorting and washing lemons, the journey of the lemon so to speak, on its way out of a packinghouse. Little did she know that one of the photos would become, in time, iconic to Santa Barbara County’s agricultural history appearing on postcards, posters and the local newspapers come each Fiesta, and especially the Goleta Lemon Festival. In 2001, it was chosen as the main image for the Goleta Community Heritage Project appearing in all of their publications. To this day the picture still hangs at the Stow House and The Old Town Coffee House in Goleta.
Delia met the love of her life, Salvador Campos, at a local dance. They were married and raised five children in Carpinteria. Active in the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, she assisted Father Roughan administering communion to the sick in their homes, leading rosaries, making some of the best enchiladas for the Catholic carnival for years, having priests and seminarians over for dinner and even giving one of them regular haircuts!
Compassionate, Delia always went out of her way to help people in need. After gaining U.S. citizenship, she was instrumental in assisting many other immigrants become citizens. Working with others, she learned that she was a natural teacher not only to her own children, but the community’s youth, as well. Truly a highlight of her life was working with students at the Carpinteria Jr. High for 20 years. Those years turned into a lifetime of friendship and love, as the students never forgot her. As adults, they became regular visitors to the Campos household and brought their own children to meet their wonderful Mrs. Campos who was always there for them.
Delia kept herself active in ways that brought others sunshine. She loved music, singing, knitting and crocheting. A favorite pastime was reading, particularly history. Not surprisingly, she had a hand in the writing of one of Carpinteria’s best history books. She translated Spanish documents to English for Jayne Craven Caldwell’s Carpinteria As It Was.
Delia is survived by her loving husband of 74 years, Salvador Campos, her five children, Dr. Jim Campos (Valerie), Arthur, Daniel, Graciela Barnes (Reid) and Alicia Wissing (Andrew). She was most proud of and loved her seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her grandson Eric Campos.
The family would especially like to thank Cathy Miller of Pacific Village and her staff for Delia’s outstanding care. We also thank everyone at Hospice/VNA – Shannon, Carolyn, Fabiola and Chaplain Reggie Salcedo. The town of Herreras, Duango, has a tradition of ringing the church bells when one of their own passes away. The bells have been rung for Delia.
A celebration of her life will be held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 1532 Linden Avenue, Carpinteria, on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. A reception will follow at the Church Hall.