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Montebello school board member Marcella Calderon dies of cancer

January 4, 2012 |  3:15 pm

Marcella_Calderon300Marcella Calderon, the first Latina to serve as president of the Montebello Unified School District board and a member of a prominent political family in the area, died of cancer Sunday night, her husband said.

Calderon, 52, "will be remembered as a committed community leader, relentless advocate for education and a loving wife and mother," former Democratic Assemblyman Tom Calderon said in a  statement.

In 1986, Marcella and Tom Calderon founded Calderon & Associates, a firm they said helped elect more than 75 local and state officials throughout Southern California. 

Marcella Calderon was elected to the Montebello school board in 1999 and reelected in 2003, 2007 and 2011. She served as board president in 2001, 2005 and 2008 and was serving as vice president at the time of her death.

Born July 26, 1959, in Los Angeles, she grew up in the City of Commerce and graduated from Bell Gardens High School.  She attended East Los Angeles College, where she was elected student body president.

Calderon helped pass the Montebello district's largest school bond measure. She also focused on improving student achievement; student test scores rose during her board tenure.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by two grown children, Cameron and Victoria.  Plans for a public celebration of her life are pending, her husband said.

The Calderons belong to a family of elected officials that have represented San Gabriel Valley and Southeast Los Angeles County communities for nearly three decades. 

Charles Calderon, Tom's older brother, served in the state Legislature for more than 20 years and served as majority leader in both the state Senate and Assembly.  His younger brother, Ron Calderon, currently is a state senator.


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Photo: Marcella Calderon

Credit: Montebello Unified School District