Lydia Felix Guilin, 95, passed away Jan. 23, 2014. She was born in Tucson, Ariz. on April 11, 1918. She was the eldest child of her parents, Calistro Martinez Felix and Delfina Dominguez Felix, followed by her brothers - Angel (Kito) and Lionel.
When Lydia was just 6 years old her mother died, marking a defining moment in her life. After her mother's death Lydia and her two brothers moved to Calexico, Calif. to be raised by her paternal grandparents, Pedro and Felipa Martínez Felix. Her father remarried and went on to have seven more children, two sons and five daughters.
Lydia was a beautiful young woman with several suitors. When she was a young teen she met her future husband, José Guilin, at a dance in Mexicali, Mexico, but they did not immediately become a couple. After she graduated from high school she worked at the Five and Dime as a sales clerk. Eventually she became reacquainted with José and they married in 1939 when she was 21. Lydia and José had seven children together: Yolanda, Rebecca, Salvador, Leticia, Josefina, Isabel, and Christina. Sadly, Yolanda died at the age of 4 months in 1941.
The family lived in Calexico until 1947 when they moved to Blythe where they bought a home in the 1960s. José worked in farming and Lydia worked in the home. She was always busy - raising the children, cooking, cleaning. She had a creative drive: sewing clothes, painting ceramic nativity scenes, embroidering pillow cases, making beautiful quilts, and crocheting multicolored afghans. She was also an avid reader. She read every day and did the daily crossword puzzle. Her vocabulary was extensive and she had an eclectic breadth of knowledge.
Her love of learning passed on to her children and grandchildren. All of her children went to college. One achieved an Associate's degree and the other five achieved their Bachelors' degrees. Three of her children became teachers. Ten of her 11 grandchildren graduated (or will soon graduate) from college, from schools such as: Harvard, Georgetown, Stanford, Emory, Georgia Tech, University of Georgia, and UC Irvine.
Despite early losses Lydia was ever resilient and clear-minded. She was quiet and reserved but when she had something to say, she said it. Above all she loved her family. Spending time with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren was her greatest joy. She did not let her fear of flying stop her from visiting her newborn grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Lydia traveled to Chapingo, Mexico twice by train, to Georgia by bus, and later to Washington DC by train to hold newborn babies in her arms. Her love for her family was unwavering and constant. She never gave us any reason to doubt that she would love us unconditionally regardless of whether or not she approved of our choices -- not that she wasn't prone to scolding now and then.
Lydia had many friends who loved her because she was a good friend in return. She was a good listener, wasn't judgmental, and she was very compassionate.
She is survived by six children: Rebecca Enayati, Salvador Guilin (Esther Guilin), Leticia Guilin, Josefina Guilin, Isabel Haydon (Matthew Haydon), and Christina Alexander (Mark Alexander); 11 grandchildren: Desirée Bartlett (Stephen Bartlett), Angelica Dinwiddie, Isaac Garcia (An Vanbellingen), Sara Garcia (Tim Cross), Andi Guariglia (Joshua Guariglia), Joseph Guilin, Matthew Haydon, Joshua Alexander, Amanda Bloom (Andrew Bloom), Arisa Cuevas (Daniel Cuevas), and Laura Alexander; and seven great-grandchildren: Matthew Dinwiddie, Jack Dinwiddie, Thérèse Cuevas, Peter Bartlett, Monique Cuevas, Darya Bartlett, and Athena Cuevas. She was happily awaiting the birth of two more great-grandchildren.
Lydia was preceded in death by her husband, José Guilin, who died in 1998.
The last instruction she left us with was, "Que se porten bien" (Behave yourselves).
Visitation for Lydia will be Feb. 2, 2014 beginning at 5:30 p.m. with Rosary at 7 p.m.; Mass will be Feb. 3, 2014 at 10 a.m. All services will be held at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church. Burial will be at Palo Verde Cemetery following the mass.
She was our memory, our glue, and our conscience. She will be dearly missed.