Remembering Our Friend Miguel Guerrero (1932 – 2020)

Remembering Our Friend Miguel Guerrero (1932 – 2020)

Miguel “Mike” Guerrero (Stockton, CA) was born in Michoacan, Mexico on February 27, 1932 to the late Miguel and Consuelo Guerrero, and grew up in the California Central Valley.

He memorialized his early experiences as a boy, immigrant, and student in the United States in a book Reflections of a Little Brown Boy, written in adulthood. His athleticism in boxing as a young adult in school led to further training, resulting in Pacific Coast and NCAA featherweight championships. After a stint in the Army where he served in Germany and at the American Embassy in France, he returned to attend college at San Jose State University, and earned a MBA from the University of Santa Clara. Miguel retired as a Business Instructor from San Joaquin Delta College, then continued teaching printmaking through the Stockton Institute for Continued Learning.

Along with his teaching career, he became deeply interested in studio art, experimenting with sculpture and moving into drawing, painting, and printmaking. He exhibited widely for over 30 years with notable local exhibitions at The Haggin Museum, Mexican Heritage Center, Alan Short Gallery, LH Horton Jr Gallery and at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts. His works are held in numerous private collections, and a bronze sculpture resides in the collection of the Department of Migrant Education in Washington, DC.

Always a teacher and mentor, Miguel made many lifelong connections with educators, students, and artists. Gregarious, friendly, and generous by nature, he enjoyed sharing knowledge, good foods, libations, stories, and conversations. He was a positive person with an upbeat attitude and good sense of humor, yet grounded, strong, and loyal. Beyond teacher and artist, he was a cherished husband, father, brother, and friend that will be profoundly missed by his family and our community.

Remembering Our Friend Lino Raymond Giovacchini (1940 – 2020)

Lino Giovacchini (Tracy, CA) was celebrated member of the creative community and dear friend of the Grand. Mr. Giovacchini, a life-long resident of San Joaquin County, was a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, Fireman/Captain at Lawrence Livermore Lab Site 300, general contractor, and a unique artist of the region. As an incredible self-taught woodturner and sculptor, Lino mastered the metal lathe to create both functional and sculptural work. He is known for his intricate bowls, vases, and boxes built from exotic hardwoods and salvaged construction woods, and has been honored for his beautiful spruce models of farm machinery. His works often hold connections to his family, friends, upbringing, and Italian heritage.

A long-time member of the Tracy Art League, Lino exhibited in the Grand Galleries and across the area. In addition, prominent works are in the public collections of the Cities of Lathrop and Tracy. In Tracy as part of the Civic Art Program, he was commissioned to create work for the Sister City Association’s exchange with Memuro, Japan, and to build the large-format re-creation of the historic Southern Pacific 1293 switch engine on display in City Hall.

Lino not only made impressive objects (and delicious soup!), but also he shared knowledge. He taught others about tools, craft, and work ethic. Often he would attend events or visit the Galleries engaging viewers, answering their questions, and inviting them to see his incredible workshop with a charming smile. The Grand family and our community will greatly miss him.

** Photo courtesy of Tiffanie Heben Photography & Design – ©2015 All Rights Reserved.

Remembering Our Friend Leona Darr Willis (1929 – 2017)

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For many of us, Leona was the true champion of the revival of the historic Grand Theatre into the contemporary arts center it is today.  Her never ending energy to make the Grand rise again was powerful and influential to the hundreds of collaborators, and thousands of community members, who worked on the project for years.

When challenges emerged, Leona always had the right words of encouragement and sweetest twinkle in her eyes.  As a Grand Girl working at the theatre and as a life-long arts patron, the support and wisdom she generously shared was inspirational and priceless. Our Staff at the Grand and community-at-large will deeply miss her.

Tracy Press Obituary

Remembering Our Friend Gretchen Talley (1933 – 2016)

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Gretchen Talley was a long time, celebrated community leader and activist, and one of Tracy’s quintessential arts and education supporters.  Her decades of remarkable community involvement included St. Bernard’s Mothers Guild, Tracy Joint Union High School District, San Joaquin County Board of Education, THS Parent Advisory Committee and Band Boosters, Tracy Parks & Recreation Commission, Tracy Tennis Club, San Joaquin County Bike Task Force, Tracy Friends of the Stockton Symphony and numerous other organizations.

Ms. Talley was also a Board Member of the Arts Leadership Alliance (now Grand Foundation) who worked in collaboration with the City of Tracy in the development of the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts.  For many years after the Grand opened, Gretchen would enthusiastically attend events and promote the Center, as well as consistently offer kind words of support to the Staff.  Her sincere efforts were always appreciated and she will be greatly missed.

Additional details about Gretchen’s impressive life has been recently documented in the Tracy Press.