DOWNEY - Jasmin Amezaga, who passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 29 after being diagnosed with cancer of the liver and lungs just days after her 30th birthday on Nov. 18, was engaged to be married to fiancé Mark Keller in the spring (on April 11), with a honeymoon in Maui to follow.Amezaga died at her parents' home in West Covina, where she had relocated as she steadily lost strength and required watchful care. Signs of her weakening state had already been noticed before she was prevailed upon to celebrate her birthday in New Orleans in the company of a few fellow Downey High School employees and her fiancé. The engaged couple otherwise enjoyed traveling to such destinations as San Francisco ("She loved Monterey, Solvang, the wine country," Keller said), Las Vegas, and New York-"as much as their busy schedules would allow." It was while on a cruise to Mexico last April that Keller had proposed to her. They also enjoyed attending live theatre. "She was a good writer and loved the classics, both books and film. She loved Jimmy Stewart, for instance," said Keller. "She appreciated Alfred Hitchcock." An employee since 2001 of the Downey Unified School District, where she was a senior instructional assistant working with Special Education students at both Downey High School and Warren High School, Amezaga also worked part-time for the city of Downey as a house manager at the Downey Theatre. Keller has also worked part-time at the theatre as a house manager and it was there that the two first met. Keller has also been in demand locally for a number of years as Santa Claus. According to Keller, Amezaga suffered through the week-end performances of "My Fair Lady" last October with a cold. Her doctor told her then to take time off from both her full-time and part-time jobs. Her condition was worsening but she "sugar-coated" it, Keller said, putting up a good front to dispel concern. "The last time I saw her alive was on the morning of the 24th," said Keller. "I got busy performing at people's homes as Santa. As it happened, test results from the lab before Christmas showed there wasn't anything anybody really could do." Born in Huntington Park, Amezaga lived most of her life in Downey, graduating from Warren High School. A memorial service was held Dec. 29 at the Downey-Florence Seventh-day Adventist Church where, Keller said, "the over-flowing, standing-room only crowd made it clear that Jasmin was very well-loved. She touched many lives, created precious memories, and will be very much missed." In addition to Keller, survivors include her parents, Leonard and Teresa Amezaga; and her sisters Justine and Jamie. She also leaves behind many relatives, co-workers and friends, as well her dogs, Nelson and Tweek, whom she called her "babies."
********** Published: January 8, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 38