Luz Maria_Salazar
Luz Maria Salazar
  • 90 years old
Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto.

January 6, 1926 – March 15, 2016

A memorial service with family and friends will be held on Sunday, March 20th at 2:00 at the Dutro family home, 530 Cuesta in Aptos. 

Luz María (Lucy) was born in Mexico City on January 6, 1926. After marrying David Steves in 1953 and spending time in both of their countries, the young family settled in Riverside, California in 1963. She moved to Santa Cruz County in 1997 to be closer to her grandchildren. 

In the 1970s, during her years working at the Riverside County courthouse, Luz María was often called upon informally to interpret for Spanish-speaking members of the public. She became acutely aware of the need for competent language services in the courts and that became her passion. She was one of the first certified court interpreters and spent decades ensuring that defendants, victims, and witnesses had accurate interpretation in court. She often described her role as being a voice, with no bias or judgment, and was honored to help people be heard. After reluctantly retiring from interpreting at 80 years of age, she turned her considerable energies to volunteering for a myriad of local organizations. She was also a long-time supporter of many human rights and social justice charities.

Luz Maria’s light touched everyone she met. She had a gift for seeing others and making them feel treasured, whether it was amusing a baby in a long line at the grocery store or enthusiastically greeting every dog on the beach. An afternoon with her equaled a year of loving affection. She was uniquely spirited and joyful in life. Even in her last year, during a prolonged terminal illness and physical suffering, she sang in the car with the windows down, danced rather than walked, and made up songs her son-in-law dubbed “MIL-odies.” Hundreds of photos document her exuberant smile and arsenal of silly faces.

She loved going to the movies, mostly for the extra-buttery popcorn, and attending poetry readings, plays, dance performances, and concerts. She was an avid reader, often devouring a hefty book in a single day. She found great meaning in art – painting, sculpting, drawing – and wrote beautiful letters. Anyone lucky enough to receive a work of art or love letter from her cherished the gift forever. And she had an unmatched sweet tooth. Even as she lost her appetite, she could appreciate a giant slice of cake with an extra large scoop of ice cream.

Luz Maria was deeply connected to her Catholic faith, but found wisdom and solace in a variety of religions and non-traditional spiritual practices.  She was sharp, empathetic, and intuitive, with a big, grateful heart. Her bright-burning light was one-of-a-kind and a precious gift to anyone who was lucky enough to be loved by her.

After several months under the loving care of hospice and her family, Luz Maria passed away at home, surrounded by loved ones. She will be remembered by her devoted family including her son, Charles Steves; daughter, Susana Dutro and son-in-law, George Dutro; daughter, Catherine and husband Frank Johnson; grandchildren Brian Dutro and wife Sabrina, Rebecca Dutro and husband, Matt McCloskey, Adam Powell, and Austin Johnson; great-granddaughter Madison Powell, and many nieces, especially María del Carmen Arriola Salazar. She was blessed with many loving extended family members and beloved friends.

Donations in her honor can be made to Hospice of Santa Cruz County.


Memorial Tributes
Candle lit by  Carmen El-Zaim  on March 26th, 2016

Tuve la dicha de ser amada por ti adorada tía. Desde pequeña me enseñaste a aceptarme, a quererme, a que siempre era posible regalar sonrisas, a tener palabras amables, a gozar la vida de una manera que sólo tú supiste gozar. Fuiste mi ejemplo, mi apoyo, mi guía, mi amor. Te llevaré conmigo en un lugar muy profundo de mi corazón hasta el momento en que nuestras almas se vuelvan a encontrar

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This memorial is administered by:

Rebecca Dutro

Created in partnership with

Santa Cruz Sentinel



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