Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Lakeside Garden Guild adopted sponsorship of a stunning sculpture by Estela Hidalgo, created in fond remembrance of longtime Ajijic resident Juanita Hidano Reed.
The monument was unveiled Tuesday, March 27 in the Jardín Internacional, located at the west end of the Ajijic Malecón.
Born in Cuba, the daughter of a Japanese diplomat, Juanita met and married husband James Reed in Tokyo after the end of World War II. The couple settled permanently in Ajijic in 1978. She promptly made a mark as an energetic community leader. She was a founding member of the Culinary Society of Ajijic (CASA) and an ardent environmental activist who led local children on weekly litter clean-up campaigns in the village. She grudgingly left Ajijic in April 2007 due to ill health, dying six months later in Seattle, Washington.
The new sculpture replaces an old fishing boat turned into a flower planter named La Japonesa that was moved to Ajijic from its original place at the Chapala waterfront several years ago. Hidalgo contributed her time and talent to create the substitute memorial, made up of three vertical stone monoliths set on a black and white marble base shaped into ying-yang symbol. The Garden Guild paid for materials and construction costs, including a nighttime lighting fixture.