GRACE RILOQUIO PACHECO, of Sacramento, Calif., passed away peacefully on Thursday, August 31, 2017 from a brief cancer illness.
Born on October 23, 1953 in Santa Maria, Calif., Grace was proud to be her family's first natural born American citizen and college graduate, as well as a life-long Californian. Grace was a 1971 graduate of Ernest Righetti High School and later received her Associates Degree from Allan Hancock College. During her life, Grace lived in several communities throughout Central and Northern California. Before settling in Sacramento more than 20 years ago, Grace lived in Vallejo for nearly 15 years, and in Watsonville and Santa Maria previously.
Those who knew Grace were drawn to her as a person of kindness, compassion, authenticity, and deep spiritual faith. All of her loved ones could always count on Grace to provide comfort, reassurance, positive affirmation, and hands-on support during good times and bad.
Grace had a respected 37-year career with the State of California Employment Development Department (EDD), which began in Santa Maria. Most recently Grace worked as a staff development trainer for many years before her retirement in 2011. Grace's work involved years of travel throughout California, training other EDD employees on the delivery of state services and programs to help people find jobs and benefit from the department's many resources. It was work that Grace loved and found great purpose in doing.
Having survived an earlier cancer diagnosis in her mid twenties, Grace was also very proactive with her health and wellness throughout her life, and she encouraged many others to safeguard their health as well. She especially loved yoga, both for its physical benefits as well as its spiritual, meditative qualities. With years of dedication, she became very skilled with her yoga practice and was proud of her headstands, which she could perform with stunning ease.
Within California's government agencies, Grace was an early pioneer of workplace wellness programs. Several years before her retirement, Grace began practicing yoga during her lunch hours in an unused conference room at EDD's main Sacramento office. Before long, Grace's lunchtime practice attracted a following and she began leading regular lunch-hour yoga classes for her colleagues – many of whom were introduced to yoga through Grace's classes. Upon her retirement, Grace's EDD yoga room was dedicated ‘The Grace Pacheco Yoga Room' with a formal proclamation from the California State Assembly. Regular classes are still held in The Grace Pacheco Yoga Room, and her legacy has inspired the formation of a second room for higher impact exercise classes.
Grace is survived by her husband, David Pacheco, of Sacramento, Calif.; her son, John Pacheco, of San Francisco, Calif.; her brothers, Angel Riloquio, of Grover Beach, Calif., David Riloquio (wife Cathy), of Santa Maria, Calif., and sister Cris Moser (husband Jim) of Ceres, Calif.; nieces Elisa Jordan and Natalie Rucobo; nephews George Moser and Joseph Riloquio; grandnephews Gage Jordan and Dominic Rucobo; grandnieces Colette Jordan and Charley Rae Rucobo; and countless beloved friends and “surrogate grandkids” who enriched Grace's life. Grace was preceded in death by her father, Simon Riloquio, in 1999; her mother, Elisa Vicencio Gomez, in 2017; her uncle, Narciso Riloquio, in 1987; and her sister, Rosa Gomez, in 1972 – all of Santa Maria.
A Catholic mass in Grace's honor will be held on Wednesday, September 20, at 9:30 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, 1017 11th St., Sacramento, Calif. Interment will be private. A celebration of Grace's extraordinary life will be held in October, in conjunction with her birthday.
Those wishing to honor Grace are welcome to send flowers for her Catholic mass and may also make donations in Grace's memory to her favorite charity, nonprofit, and arts organizations: PBS, SPCA, The San Francisco Mime Troupe, The American Cancer Society, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.