Dozens of Santa Clarita residents occupied the seats at the Newhall Family Theatre, to remember a mother, friend, and colleague, former Santa Clarita Mayor Jo Anne Darcy, who passed away at the age of 86 on Sunday, Oct. 29.
Remembering her in vivid detail, Mayor Pro Tempe Laurene Weste introduced an emotional audio slideshow full of photos and interviews to the crowd at the theater formerly known as the Newhall Auditorium, showing Darcy’s involvement in the SCV community, and who she was a person.
“Jo Anne was a leader. She couldn’t wait till the job was done,” said Weste. “She could’ve led a regiment into battle and she would’ve been followed by everyone.”
Sitting front and center were family members of Darcy, including her daughter Joleen, who spent the last eight years taking care of her mother.
Community leaders and local elected politicians offered their condolences to the Darcy family and presented her daughter with multiple framed certificates and awards. She was thanked for multiple successful initiatives she was responsible for, including the creation of the SCV Senior Center.
Speakers included Senator Scott Wilk, Dante Acosta, Rosalind Wayman on behalf of Supervisor Kathryn Barger and Brent Robinson, on behalf of Senator Kamala Harris.
“Our future successes will be on the foundation that Jo Anne Darcy helped provide,” said Hunt Braly, a former member of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce who worked alongside Darcy for various projects. She played an influential role in Santa Clarita’s successful push for cityhood in 1987 and served on the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee, the Small Business Development Center Business Survival Committee and the College of the Canyons Special Task Force on Small Business.
Councilwoman Marsha McLean also recalled the political battles that she fought alongside Darcy and expressed her gratitude. “I sit in her office,” said McLean, “I feel Jo Anne’s presence all the time.”
Along with the success of Santa Clarita, Darcy advocated for women’s empowerment by way of the Zonta Club, who Darcy served as founding officer and president for. Many members from the Zonta sisterhood attended, and the Zonta Collect was recited by everyone at the close of the ceremony.
“If she was here, and if she could remember all of this, it would mean the world to her,” said her son Richard Darcy in a closing remark. “She’s now in a better place, and she will accept all of your tributes as kindness and as friendship.”