Maria Carmen Ylincheta Arguedas Craviotto was born on Feb. 27, 1930, the third daughter to Sebastiana Ylincheta Arguedas and Perfecto Arguedas, two Basque immigrants. When Carmen was a baby, the family moved from Los Angeles to the Antelope Valley where her parents purchased a ranch and began farming alfalfa. Carmen spent her childhood on the ranch, driving tractors before school, caring for animals, and swimming in the reservoir with her sisters and cousins.
After graduating from high school, Carmen went to Wright McMahon Secretarial School in Beverly Hills, then moved to Santa Barbara where she attended college and worked as a secretary at UCSB. Her dream was to continue to study to become a teacher of young children. During this time she met Daniel Craviotto through a mutual friend. They fell in love and married in 1954.
Soon to follow were four children (Dan Jr., John, Cathleen, Eileen) and the joys and busyness of being a family. Carmen was a force of nature, a devoted wife and mother who dedicated her life to bringing joy and caring for her family and assisting in the management and accounting of the Craviotto businesses and investments. Carmen and Dan centered their busy lives on their large extended family. She hosted countless BBQ’s and extended family dinners effortlessly and was known for being an amazing cook. Later in life they traveled extensively, even going to Patagonia and Chile, a lifelong dream, in their late 70’s. Carmen adored her grandchildren and great grandchildren, and found every moment she could to play with them and be with them. Carmen loved to be outside, walking on the beach or cultivating flowers and trees in her beautiful garden and later transforming the fruit into her famous apricot and other jams. She was a member of Community Covenant Church and cherished her long term relationships and friends within her church community. Her husband Dan was the passion of her life until his death in 2011. She deeply mourned the heartbreaking loss of her son John in 2021. She was also preceded in death by her parents, her sisters Josephine Wheeler and Blanche Pitts.
Carmen is remembered and dearly loved by the families of her children Dan (Carol Craviotto), her deceased son John (Lori Craviotto), Cathleen (Steve Leth), Eileen (Joseph Velasco), her grandchildren (Kristin, Michael, Brianna, Chris, Nicole, Gabriella, Zachary, Benjamin, Akela, Ixaka), and her great grandchildren (Grace, Olive, Sylvia, Jonathan and McKenna). She will also be remembered dearly by her friends and her Community Covenant Church family.
Carmen had a vibrant personality and was known for her love of life, her ability to find joy in everything and her love of having meaningful conversations with anyone she would meet. Her infectious smile, warm embrace, family barbecues, curiosity, and positive attitude will be deeply missed by those she leaves behind. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice of Santa Barbara.