Celeste Phyllis English, 54, passed away on September 28, 2017, at home in Templeton, after a noble and courageous fight with metastatic breast cancer. Throughout her seven-year cancer treatment journey, she made it her commitment to share with others the importance of breast cancer awareness.
Born to Angela Ortega and raised in Los Angeles, California, Celeste graduated in 1980 from Ramona Convent High School in Alhambra, Calif. After high school, she attended Whittier College, where she met the love of her life, Geoff English. They married in 1987 and remained together for 30 years until she went to be with the Lord.
First and foremost a wife and mother, Celeste adored her husband, their two grown sons and a daughter-in-law whom she regarded as her own. Despite a dire health prognosis, Celeste was incredibly joyful about the birth of her first grandchild, Molly June, who delighted her heart and illuminated her spirit through her darkest days of treatment.
Celeste is preceded in death by her brother, Leonard Ortega. She is survived by her husband, Geoff, of Templeton, son John (Sierra) English and their daughter, Molly, all of Templeton; son Tyler English of Pasadena; sisters Nancy Pacheco of Sylmar, and Elizabeth (Jim) Ortega-Gingrich of Claremont; brother Lloyd Ortega of Fort Worth, Texas; sister Jackie Ortega of Alameda; as well as numerous nieces and nephews of the English and Ortega families who will miss her dearly.
Employed in local schools and in municipal government administration, Celeste worked at Templeton Elementary School as a librarian, Templeton Community Services District as a clerical assistant to the Fire Chief and as the Recreation Coordinator, Templeton High School as the Registrar, and as an Administrative Assistant for the Morro Bay Recreation and Parks Department and for the Facilities Department Work Control Center at Cal Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo. She was dependable, smart, and exceedingly capable. She enjoyed working and excelled wherever she applied her talents.
A terrific cook, she opened her home to others with warmth and acceptance and cultivated many deep and lasting friendships. Celeste was also a lover of beautiful places and she savored camping trips to her beloved Sierra mountains, particularly Yosemite National Park. She also fell in love with London and New York City which she discovered through her passion for reading British literature and love of old movies.
As witnessed by many, Celeste was a confident woman who exuded wisdom, principles and deep conviction, but she was just as feisty and fun. Quick as a whip with sarcastic wit, even a verbal kick in the pants was tempered with empathy and love. It frustrated Celeste that her body could no longer withstand the disease of cancer, but she expressed greater happiness with the blessings that saturated her life and the love of those who surrounded it.
A woman of deep faith, Celeste managed to find beauty in every moment despite her challenging medical conditions. She also practiced what she believed by giving of herself, whether it was mentoring others or providing meals for the homeless population. Celeste attended Life Community Church in Templeton with her husband and family. She pondered scripture and internalized it in ways that deepened her intimacy with God and with those she loved.
A memorial service will be held at Life Community Church at 3770 Ruth Way in Templeton at 2 p.m. on October 21, 2017. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation at www.bcrf.org.