MORONGO BASIN ICON, MARA CANTELO, DIES OF NATURAL CAUSES

MORONGO BASIN ICON, MARA CANTELO, DIES OF NATURAL CAUSES

A Morongo Basin icon, Mara Cantelo, founder and driving force behind the annual Tender Loving Christmas, TLC, events, has passed away. Cantelo, who suffered multiple illnesses, passed away of natural causes at her home, she was 64. A caregiver reported that she had not been heard from since Friday September 8. Investigating deputies found her deceased Monday afternoon with no sign of foul play. In 1983, Cantelo, who lived alone, decided that no one should be alone for Christmas and started the TLC movement. In the subsequent 33 years, literally thousands of people had a meal, gifts, toys, entertainment, canned goods, and a place to be with friends on Christmas. Cantelo described it as, “One neighbor taking care of another neighbor.” Adding, “We’re hoping that everybody gets the message that they don’t have to be alone on Christmas Day.” In 2013, Congressman Paul Cook awarded Cantelo a “Woman of Distinction” award for her remarkable contributions to the citizens of the Morongo Basin. Yucca Valley’s Mayor Merl Abel said, “On behalf of the entire Town Council, we are saddened to hear of the passing of Mara Cantelo. Mara was a fixture in our community, and her selfless spirit was evident in her countless hours of dedication to the entire Morongo Basin, Mara will be missed.” The town added that they stand ready to partner with any non-profit or faith-based group that desires to pick up where Mara Cantelo left off, and continue the Tender Loving Christmas event for the community.

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