We adjourn tonight’s meeting in memory of a woman who I was lucky to call a friend and a mentor. Without her work and dedication, we would not be celebrating 30 years of Cityhood, because there would not be a City of Santa Clarita.
Jo Anne Darcy was a pivotal member of the City Formation Committee. She was a former councilwoman, four-time mayor and made so many vital contributions to our City and our community. Jo Anne’s handprint and vision can be seen in almost every facet of Santa Clarita.
She helped bolster the Chamber of Commerce in the 1970s and it grew three-fold during her tenure. Jo Anne played a crucial role at the Chamber at a time in our City’s history when the valley’s population was growing rapidly and the chamber was the closest thing we had to local government.
She was then tapped to be the Santa Clarita Valley field deputy to the 5th District’s newly elected supervisor, Michael D. Antonovich.
Even with her new found position and responsibilities – she always found time to give back to the community she loved. Her passion for libraries led her to take a leading role in many organizations including launching the local Friends of the Library group. She also served as the president of Zonta and embraced our City’s rich Western heritage by starting the Old Town Newhall Walk of Western Stars. And fittingly, when you visit Old Town Newhall today, you will see her bronze and terrazzo tile on Main Street between 6th and Market.
Some of the other accolades bestowed on Jo Anne include being named Santa Clarita Valley Woman of the Year (1984), “Outstanding Woman” by the Soroptimists (1986) and Founders Award recipient by Zonta (1986). In 1990 she was the first woman to be named Citizen of the Year by the Santa Clarita Elks Lodge.
But one of her proudest accomplishments was her role in the incorporation of the City of Santa Clarita. Jo Anne served on the city council from 1987 to 2002, serving as Mayor in 1990, 1995 and back to back in 1999 and 2000.
She did so much for our community during her tenure on the City Council …including helping launch the Senior Center, expanding the green belt around our City, adding more recreation opportunities for residents, partnering with our local schools, enhancing public safety, supporting improvements to our hospital, making the Cross Valley Connector a reality, fighting CEMEX and all around being the ultimate team player who knew how to get the job done.
She once said of the task… “Of all that hard work, I would do it again.”
That hard work went beyond her council duties. She was also a founding member of the SCV Historical Society, helped launch the Domestic Violence Center, she was appointed to the California State Film Commission and actively participated in filming activities in Acton, Agua Dulce, Newhall, Saugus, Valencia, Val Verde and Castaic since 1970.
I am happy to say that her name and legacy will be well-known to future generations when they visit the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library.
Her accomplishments were many and her love for her community was equaled only by the love reflected upon her by the many people she helped, inspired and were lucky enough to call her a friend.
Jo Anne Darcy passed away on October 29 at the age of 86. Our thoughts and prayers are with her four children Gary, Darrell, Richard and Joleen.