Two late Lompoc residents were honored Saturday during an Arbor Day Celebration in the city's new Recognition Grove at River Park.

Lorenzo Gonzales and Maida Ratcliff were recognized during the event, which was attended by about 75 community members. The two honorees, who were selected by Lompoc city staff, had trees with plaques bearing their names dedicated in memorial of them in Recognition Grove.

“As these trees grow and mature, they become a living legacy of the esteem in which Recognition Grove honorees are held,” read a portion of a statement from the city of Lompoc. “The grove is also a way that the Lompoc community can say thank you to those who have done so much to improve quality of life in the Lompoc Valley.”

Gonzales spent 37 years working for the city of Lompoc before retiring in 2007 as the water distribution supervisor. He died in January 2018.

Gonzales was instrumental in mapping the miles of water lines in the city, developing a knowledgeable workforce and ensuring the delivery of safe water to Lompoc residents, according to the city.

Maida Ratcliff

Pianist Maida Ratcliff

Ratcliff, who died in June 2017, pursued her lifelong love of music by studying at Drexel Conservatory in Los Angeles. Upon returning to Lompoc, she taught private piano lessons in her home for many decades to several generations of young musicians. Over the years, Ratcliff was the pianist, organist and choir director for numerous Lompoc-area churches.

Ratcliff was also involved with the vocal music department at Cabrillo High School for many years as the accompanist for the Madrigals. She also served as accompanist for the Lompoc Master Chorale and was a founding member and pianist of the Lompoc Pops Orchestra and performed live concerts until age 95.

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