Long‐time Simi Valley resident and matriarch of one of the oldest and largest pioneer families in Simi
Valley, Frances Lemos, passed away in her home after a lengthy illness on February 6, surrounded by all
of her children.
Frances (Romero) Lemos was born on Nov. 11, 1927 in Simi Valley. At the age of 4, she traveled to
Mexico with her parents Apolinar and Guadalupe and their three sons. She returned to the States in
1949, escorted by her brother Marcelo, to discern a life in the convent. It was then that she met her
future husband, Benito Lemos of Simi Valley and the two were married the following year in 1950.
Frances was very active in her parish at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Simi Valley, where she and
Benito were married. As a young woman, she was a member of the Hijas de Maria. In her parish
community, she was involved with the Knights of Columbus Women’s Auxiliary, the annual St. Rose
Carnival, the choir, the Cursillo Ministry, Marriage Encounter, the Legion of Mary, the Altar and Rosary
Society, the food and clothing bank and other ministries in her parish. She was also a member of the
Discalced Carmelite Secular Order, OCDS.
In the early 1980’s, recognizing a need to minister to the growing Spanish‐speaking congregation,
Frances and Benito were instrumental in organizing the first Hispanic Catholic Community at St. Rose of
Lima as part of the planning commission headed by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. She was also
instrumental in organizing her parish’s first Hispanic Community Choir along with her sister, Ramona.
For her many contributions to her church, she received official Papal Honors from Pope John Paul II in
“Mama Chita”, as she was affectionately known by her grandchildren and great‐grandchildren leaves a
great void in the Lemos family. But, because of the fervent faith that she instilled in her children, they
are left with the comforting thought that they will see her again. She loved being surrounded by her
family ‐ especially at Christmas time when they would all gather around her to celebrate by making
traditional Christmas tamales, exchanging gifts and singing songs of worship.
The impact she had on the community is staggering with condolences pouring in from those she met
through her children and are affected by her loss.
Frances is survived by her children: Mary Jerez and her husband Carlos, Bertha Santoyo, Elizabeth
Dickenson and her husband Jeff, Frances Hale and her husband Errol, Bennie and his wife Rosalinda,
Victor, Nora Heisch and her husband Darin, Joel and his wife Lauren, Augustine and his wife Elizabeth,
Tony and his wife Loretta, George and his wife Sandy, Clarisa Beck and her husband James, and John and
his wife Velma. She and her husband had another daughter in 1966, Rita, who died shortly after birth.
Frances also had 37 grandchildren and 52 great grandchildren, with another four on the way.
She is survived also by her siblings Ramona Perez of Simi Valley, Enrique Aguilar of Mexico City,
Guillermina Jimenez and Gabriel Aguilar of Puruandiro, Michoacan.
There will be early visitation and viewing at Reardon Simi Valley Funeral Home on Friday, February 14 from 1:00 p.m. ‐ 5:30 p.m. Additional viewing time will take place later Friday evening starting promptly with a 7:00 p.m. Rosary prayer service at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Simi Valley. A mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 15 with interment to follow at Assumption Catholic Cemetery in Simi Valley.