Originator of “Seniors in Action”
September 12, 1921 ~ October 11, 2016
With a twinkle in her eye, Noreen Collins Santaluce would address a room full of her 90’s Club friends and announce “None of us will get out of here alive, so we may as well have fun!” And so it was on October 11, 2016 that the twinkle and light that shined so brightly for 95 years graciously moved to the great beyond.
Noreen and husband Rene chose Soquel California for their home in 1958. The couple met when Rene was in the Army Air Corps in Los Angeles and Noreen worked at Vega Aircraft Manufacturing. Sharing a love for horses they’d ride the hills and canyons near Pasadena. In 1945 they married.
It’s not surprising that the home they eventually found was on two acres of land in Soquel with Redwood trees and a babbling creek. Theirs was a caring and supportive union for 62 years. In 2007 Rene passed away surrounded by his loving family. Noreen and Rene’s two children, Lee Ann and Phil, were actively engaged with their parents throughout their lives and presented a wonderful Celebration of Life gathering for Noreen at La Posada Retirement Community where she lived after Rene’s death.
While at La Posada, she interviewed residents and wrote articles about them for the La Posada Newsletter. She also took up drawing, painting, and water aerobics, was a member of the writer’s club and directed a play. On October 22, 2016 Noreen’s many friends, several who remembered Rene, gathered to honor her and recall the joy.
As we reflect on Noreen’s life, we see that she moved with the times. Her children where the center of her life for two decades and both Lee Ann and Phil recall her presence at all their childhood and teenage events. Her interests always went beyond beyond the family but never interfered with being a caring mother.
When her children spread their wings as young adults, Noreen went to college and got her degree in Library Science, with honors, in 1972. She worked in the libraries of Del Mar and Soquel Elementary Schools because she enjoyed sharing her curiosity and zest for knowledge.
She also opened the Nor-Del Deli in Soquel Village and sold it after six successful years. Then she sold Real Estate for eight years before retiring. Noreen and Rene decided to live at a senior living community in Paso Robles located between the homes of their two grown children.
While in Paso Robles, Noreen worked as a freelance writer and photographer providing articles on the current events in the community to the local newspaper. She also had an article published in the “Pacific Magazine,” wrote a screenplay, wrote and directed several stage productions performed at her senior living community, and was the president of the Paso Robles Women’s Club.
In 1998 Rene and Noreen returned to Santa Cruz County to live in Capitola.
She was in her 80’s she began writing a column for the Times Publishing Group called “Seniors in Action.” The column first appeared in the Capitola Soquel Times in October of 2008. “Seniors in Action” celebrated local seniors and has served to inspire people of all ages to keep enjoying life.
Always active, she founded and led The 90’s Club at the Mid County Senior Center in 2012. The purpose of their meetings is to share, inform, and entertain. Noreen wrote a column celebrating The 90’s Club fourth anniversary in May of this year. Her message was “Don’t waste time thinking that you are too old to try anything new!”
As Noreen said in her first column for TPG about the Gardens at the Mid County Senior Center, “…some fill their plots with flowers…” Do as she did, and fill your plot with flowers.
To offer condolences to Noreen’s family, please visit www.scmemorial.com