Magdalena was born on February 28, 1939 in Rancho Agua Caliente outside of Culiacan Sinaloa, Mexico. She is the beloved mother of Veronica Johnston (Chris) and Nana to Yesenia and Yliana. She is also survived by her sisters, Lilia and Arcelia, and several nephews, nieces, and cousins.
Raised and educated in Culiacan, Magdalena moved to Tijuana with her mother, sisters, and brother as a young woman. While in Tijuana, she was briefly a radio personality on a Mexican radio soap opera where she played a young girl. A talented singer, Magdalena was offered the chance to launch a singing career, but chose instead to move with her mother and siblings to Los Angeles, California, as her family meant everything to her.
Magdalena learned English with a lovely accent, slightly influenced by her first English teacher who was a native of England. Soon after, she began working for Douglas Oil and then Standard Oil Company. She loved living in Los Angeles and remained there until 1973 when she married and moved to Camarillo. She proudly became a United States citizen in 1976. She loved her chosen country and the opportunities it provided. Magdalena worked at the County of Ventura until 1977 when the family moved to New Orleans, Louisiana. She cherished her time in New Orleans, enjoying good food and friends. Shortly after, the family moved to Puerto de Santa Maria Spain. She spent some of her happiest years there traveling, dancing Sevillana, attending ferias, and immersing herself in the southern Spanish culture to which she felt deeply connected. In 1981, she returned to Camarillo and resumed working for the County of Ventura, first in the Tax Collector’s Office and then transitioning to the position of Retirement Specialist. She enjoyed this work and the connections with people.
Magdalena lived for her granddaughters, Yesenia and Yliana, and once she retired, she went into full Nana mode. When the girls were in elementary school, every week she would pick them up from school with an afternoon snack to explore a new park. The girls cherished their time learning about Nana’s childhood on the ranch, and learning life lessons. Magdalena’s steadfast support in helping care for the girls permitted her daughter to finish pursuing higher education.
As the family matriarch, every Wednesday was dinner at Nana’s where Magdalena would cook comfort food for the family, followed by a game of gin rummy or Jenga. Sunday breakfasts with the family were some of her happiest times. She reinforced the importance of having a strong relationship with God, as she was a deeply spiritual person. Before her daughter, son-in-law Chris, or granddaughters would leave her house, she would bless them by saying, “Que Dios los bendiga”.
With her jolly and distinct laugh, Magdalena lived life to its fullest. She continued traveling with the family throughout her life. She loved the mountains and the snow, as it reminded her of her travels to Germany. Magdalena cherished her time playing cards or catching a movie with her dear friend Judy. She hopped on the Chumash bus one last time right before she departed this world. Always a learner, Magdalena loved looking things up on her Chromebook, had learned to text, and loved using emojis. She was an avid reader of a wide range of books. With a keen mind for math, she enjoyed number puzzles; however, her favorite math problem of all was estimating her tax withholding so accurately that there was barely a check to cut.
Magdalena leaves behind a legacy of hard work, joy, and the importance of family. Our broken hearts will take time to heal from her unexpected loss, but we know she is with her Creator watching over us with her spirit happily fluttering like the monarch butterflies she loved.
A rosary and mass for Magdalena will take place on July 19, 2021 at 10:00 am at St. Mary Magdalen Chapel in Camarillo.