In memory of
Secil Jennings Lifelong Coachella Valley resident Secil Jennings died on July 15, 2020 at Eisenhower Health in Rancho Mirage. She was 75. Secil was born in Indio on February 1, 1945 to Howard Jennings and Lupe Violet Garcia Burns Jennings Davis. She was the granddaughter of prominent valley physician and the first President of the Coachella Valley Water District, Dr. Stuart Samuel Mark Jennings and his wife Linnie B. Bowen Jennings. She grew up in Mecca on her parents' ranch where her best friends were the tractor she learned to drive at 4 years old and her many pets including a goat, a donkey, and a horse named Dixie. She is preceded in death by her parents, her younger brother Stuart, and a son, Douglas Jr. She attended Mecca School, OLPH Catholic School, and Coachella Valley High School where she loved English, Speech (winning contests with speeches on juvenile delinquency, dysfunctional families, farm workers, and what it's like to be multi-racial - all subjects she knew well) and swimming (following in her father's strokes, as he was a champion swimmer at USC). Her high school years were spent working on her family's ranch and at the soda fountain in Valley Drug in Indio, babysitting her nephews, swimming with friends, and developing a deep love for all things Elvis Presley. Secil's dream was to be a mother and that came true with the birth of her first daughter Lupe Violet in 1963. On her birthday in 1964, Secil married the boy next door (literally), Douglas Blair and they had three children together, Cheryl, Douglas Jr., and Jacqueline, before separating in 1981 and later divorcing. Secil also had another daughter, Kristine. After her separation, Secil became active in the Parents United support group and then became a foster parent through which she unofficially adopted another daughter, Ellen. One of Secil's proudest achievements was earning the position of office manager at Palm Desert Disposal where she worked in the 70's and 80's. Her working career spanned a variety of positions at various companies including Sherman's Liquor, Del Taco, Harris' Department Store, K-Mart, Indian Palms Country Club, Monte Video apartments, and the Desert Sun. Her most fulfilling, and demanding, career was that of day care provider (80's and 90's) since she was able to extend her greatest desire of being a parent. It was during this time that she also gained custody of her brother's 3 youngest children, her close friend's 2 children, and 3 grandchildren. Secil survived ovarian and uterine cancer early in life, 3 strokes later in life, and was living with diabetes and dementia when she contracted Covid-19 to which she ultimately succumbed while family members could only comfort her (sometimes by singing Elvis songs)remotely over FaceTime. She is survived by her sisters Stella Zabriskie and Diane Benner, her daughters Violet Blair, Cheryl Watson, Jacqueline Ptak (Mike), Ellen Love, and Kristine Parada, 16 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren, as well as several nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was deeply loved and will be eternally missed.
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