A Celebration of Life Jo Anne Darcy One of our City’s Founding Members

by | Nov 21, 2017 | Looking Back

“Jo Anne had that kind of grandmotherly presence, but behind it was a woman who knew how to fight and was able to accomplish a lot of things behind the scenes where she showed that toughness,” Mayor Cameron Smyth said.
In a video address at her final council meeting in 2002, Darcy conveyed her love of the city and its infrastructure.
“So many emotions have passed through my life, so many tributes I’ve been given – not deserving, I don’t think,” Darcy shared.  “But I have been a part of those organizations and those things that happened.  And when I look at our city today, I realized what a great thing happened when we did become a city.  It is nothing but great.”
“All the people that came with us and stayed with us time and time again, followed us to meetings, demonstrations, giving work on their own for thousands of hours from our volunteers – I do love you all.  You’re part of my life.  You’re part of me.  And I want you to feel that way about your city because that’s what it means…,’’ said Darcy.
Mayor Smyth said of Darcy, “ I genuinely believe we would not have been a city if not for her.”
Indeed, the city of Santa Clarita was shaped by Darcy and her tireless efforts in so many areas – from a leading voice in politics to transforming the city’s library system.  Among her many awards, she was honored as Woman of the Year by the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Founder’s Service Award from the Walk of Western Stars, Outstanding Woman of the Year for the Senior Center and was the first woman to receive Citizen of the Year by the Elks Lodge.  In addition the Canyon Country Library is named after her for her countless years of service on SCV library councils.
Perhaps most remarkable – Darcy is the only person ever to serve back-to-back terms as Santa Clarita’s Mayor.
Susanne Nelson, Senior Center Director of Supportive Services for SCV Senior Center said, “She was very tenacious and if she had a goal in mind, she wouldn’t let go.’’  She credits Darcy for founding the Senior Center and says if it weren’t for her there would be no center.  “She was truly a guiding light,” she added.
A colleague on the city council, Laurene Weste, considered Darcy her North Star and best friend.  She said of her, “Jo Anne was the heart of the Santa Clarita Valley for decades.  She was history’s personification.”
Throughout her career, she was tough and served as an advocate and problem solver, Weste said.
Jo Anne Darcy was a resident of Santa Clarita for over 23 years, and is survived by 4 children and 7 grandchildren.