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Kitty Monahan, winner for Santa Clara County’s parks, useless at 89

Kitty Monahan, a beloved Santa Clara County preservationist, educator and historian who spearheaded initiatives to shield the area’s parks for a long time, passed absent on July 25. She was 89.

Monahan, who died all over midnight at her New Almaden home the place she’d lived because 1972, left guiding a lengthy listing of accomplishments, most notably serving to direct the county’s acquire and preservation of the 4,000-acre Almaden Quicksilver County Park, where mercury mining in the 19th-century jumpstarted California’s Gold Hurry economic climate.

Even though Monahan was not married and did not have any youngsters, these who realized her well claimed that the encompassing community stood as her spouse and children. In the times before she handed, Monahan had dozens of guests coming to her New Almaden residence expressing goodbye.

“She was like our reward mom,” reported Kris Peretti, a close household pal of Monahan’s. “She by no means experienced kids…we were being her kids.”

Peretti stated that while Monahan experienced a hard time conversing in her past days, she mentioned “thank you” to each just one of her attendees.

“She was often incredibly loving,” Peretti mentioned. “But she was a really potent, independent girl. Even up right until she was more mature she could throw a bale of hay speedier than I could.”

Born on Dec. 4, 1932, Monahan grew up in San Jose and attended Notre Dame High College. She then served as a nun for the following two a long time and spent time instructing in numerous spots close to the condition, which includes in the south Los Angeles community of Watts. Buddies say that she broke with the church following disagreements with Pope John XXIII’s leadership.

At the start of the 1970s, Monahan turned a math trainer at William C. Overfelt Large Faculty. Mark Fleming, who was Monahan’s student throughout his junior and senior year, explained her as a “dedicated and knowledgeable” educator.

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“She would do the job with you if you were sluggish, which I was,” Fleming stated. “Beyond her math abilities, she cared about the students. They were personalized to her.”

It was all over this very same time that Monahan also began to embark on her preservation attempts. Along with other local community users, Monahan labored to get Santa Clara County to buy the 4,000-acre Almaden Quicksilver County Park for around $4 million. The area experienced at the time been the premier mercury mine on the North American continent, with the aspect remaining utilized to separate gold from its ore. Mining operations started off in the mid-1840s and lasted for far more than a century, generating $70 million in gains and turbocharging the region’s economic climate.

Kitty Monahan, middle proper, at the ribbon chopping of the San Cristobal tunnel, Oct 12, 1985. (Courtesy Tere Johnson) 

By the mid-1970s, she was acknowledged as the unofficial “Mayor of New Almaden” mainly because of her advocacy for the region, said Michael Cox, who expended decades performing with Monahan.

In 1983, Monahan, alongside with Cox, assisted identified the New Almaden Quicksilver County Park Affiliation, or NAQCPA, which to this working day serves as an academic useful resource for the historic web site and has around 400 members. The team immediately began to bolster the park’s features and helped direct the county purchase of a personal selection of the park’s historic artifacts and an 1850s revival-style mansion recognized as the Circumstance Grande, equally which eventually formed the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum.

“We have been equally obsessed with Almaden and equally desired the park to be formulated into some thing else,” said Cox, currently vice president of NAQCPA. “Because of its wealthy record, it could come to be a heart of studying for younger folks and persons who shared in the social and geological history of the park.”

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Cox explained Monahan as getting a “very beneficial outlook on things,” “tough,” “always smiling” and “tireless” in her quest to safeguard the area’s historical past.

“She kept a minimal calendar that she wrote in,” remembers Cox. “She would produce very little very small print in each and every calendar sq.. There’d be 8 or nine items in there. She was continuously hopping from one particular thing to the up coming.”

In the intervening decades, Monahan would keep on in her preservation efforts, founding several teams like the Friends of Santa Teresa Park. She also served as a member of Santa Clara County’s Open up Area Authority and Horsemen’s Affiliation.

Kitty Monahan at her New Almaden home in 2020. (Courtesy Kris Peretti)
Kitty Monahan at her New Almaden residence in 2020. (Courtesy Kris Peretti) 

Entirely, she invested 14,000 hrs volunteering for the county’s parks, which she was recognized for in 2014 by means of a Presidential Volunteer Provider Award. More lately, Monahan was offered a lifetime achievement award by the Santa Clara County Preservation Alliance in May well.

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