From the daily archives: Wednesday, February 16, 2011

By Mario Conde
One of Calexico most beloved figures, Margarita De Necochea, died this past Saturday at the age of 89.
Margarita Padilla-De Necochea was a pioneer of Calexico and her love for the City always made her work for a better Calexico. A civic leader and a role model, Margarita worked hard for the youth of Calexico and the preservation of historic places. She proudly served in the Calexico Historical Commission, Library commission, and other city boards. The preservation of historic landmarks in Calexico was a priority to her. Margarita was the leading voice opposing the demolition of the Carnegie Library in Calexico. Thanks to the support of the community and her relentless attitude, the Calexico Carnegie Library was renovated and opened its doors in 2009 now as a place for education and free internet for everyone.
“We want to save our buildings; we don’t want to see them destroyed. Everybody remembers the Carnegie as the place they study, read books, libraries are educational centers. Besides, history, we have to keep history and that is very important in our community.” Margarita DeNechochea said in an interview with the Calexico Chronicle one week before the grand re-opening of the Carnegie Library. Her last request to the City Council was to have a new swimming pool for Calexico. Margarita requested in a letter to the editor that a new swimming pool be constructed for the benefit of families and senior citizens. The council spoke on Tuesday about this issue since it was on the agenda for the Joint Powers Authority this past week. The Council spoke about the possibility of having the City work with the Heffernan Memorial District and the Calexico School Board to repair the High School swimming pool (the only pool in Calexico) that was badly damaged during last year’s earthquake.

Margarita worked at the Calexico High School library from 1969 to 1995. As a trustee of the Enrique “Kiki” Camarena Public Library, she advocated for many improvements and projects, including the preservation of the Carnegie Library of Calexico which was one of her greatest accomplishments. She also served on the dean’s advisory council of SDSU Imperial Valley Campus since 1981. Due to her service to education and her love for the youth of Calexico, Margarita was honored, along with her late husband Fernando, by having a library special collections room dedicated for Fernando and Margarita de Necochea at SDSU-IV. In 2005, Margarita was named “Woman of the Year” by former State Senator, Denise Moreno-Ducheny.
Margarita married her high school sweetheart, Fernando, in 1940 after graduating from high school.

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