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Obituaries - April 28, 2018

Wayne C. Palfrey

Wayne C. Palfrey, long-time resident and pioneer in education at lakeside, died peacefully in his Ajijic home Tuesday, April 24 at age 67.

pg4aPalfrey was born March 9, 1951 in Cheverly, Maryland. Raised in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., he graduated from Thomas E. Edison High School, Fairfax County, in 1969. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Wake Forest University in 1973 with a dual major in Spanish and Education. He visited Mexico for the first time prior to his senior year when he enrolled for a summer course in Guadalajara.

He returned to the City of the Roses in 1974 to co-found Oak Hill School, a non-profit private kindergarten and elementary school, in partnership with distinguished Mexican educator Lourdes Garduño and college classmate John Gaston. In September of that year, Palfrey moved to Ajijic to open the school’s lakeside branch.

The Guadalajara school closed following Garduño’s untimely death in 1976. Palfrey stayed on in Ajijic, continuing as headmaster of Oak Hill, the community’s first bilingual school.  As the student body grew, the institution expanded to include secondary level instruction, operating out of various rental properties before moving to the permanent campus in San Antonio Tlayacapan, built by Ricardo O’Rourke in 1986. Due to financial challenges, Oak Hill folded at the end of the 2003 academic year. Palfrey was hired as academic director and classroom teacher at Instituto Loyola Chapala that took over the same campus in the next school term. He was preparing for retirement at the time of his death.

During his early years at lakeside Palfrey moonlighted with teaching positions at the Escuela Secundaria in Ajijic and the Preparatoria de Chapala, where he shared his passion for Spanish and Latin American literature with a generation of budding Mexican scholars. He became active in several local theater groups as an actor and stage director. He participated in numerous plays at Lakeside Little Theatre, as well as independent productions presented in Spanish and English. He leaves as a legacy the children’s version of “The Nutcracker” he produced as part of the Oak Hill and Loyola program of performances arts.

A natural entertainer, he appeared at the elbow of Morley Eager as bilingual M.C. at the second annual Mexican National Chili Cookoff, keeping that role for 25 straight years. As an ardent history buff, he enjoyed offering lectures on Mexican history to expats through various local organizations.

Once cookery became a favorite pastime, he earned many awards as a member of the Culinary Arts Society of Ajijic (CASA) and once won the first place award at a Mexican cooking contest sponsored by a Guadalajara radio station.

Palfrey met and built a close friendship with Dale Hoyt during his first year in Ajijic. The couple married in 1979, settling down to raise their two adopted children.

Palfrey is survived by his widow, daughter Andrea, son Philip and granddaughter Kaira. He also leaves behind his father E. Calvin Palfrey and elder brother Patrick, both of Florida, and younger brother Robert of Virginia. His beloved stepmother Dorothy Madigan Palfrey passed away last August.

In keeping with local custom, Palfrey was mourned and remembered during an overnight wake held at the family home prior to the funeral mass celebrated April 25 at Ajijic’s San Andrés Parish. His cremated remains will be interred in the Ajijic cemetery in the tomb of infant daughter Emily, lost in 1981.


Ruth Darling

Long-time lakeside resident Ruth Darling died March 24 at her home in Ajijic, just shy of her 94th birthday.

Darling’s many volunteer commitments included attending the library and service desk of the Lake Chapala Society, as well as serving at St. Andrews Anglican Church and on various boards of directors. 

Darling lived in Ajijic, a community she loved, for more than 30 years.  Her beautiful home became the South Campus of LCS.

She was known a great hostess who continued to cook for guests into her 90’s.

Darling will be missed by her daughters Bobbie (Sean) and Jennifer Nash; grandchildren Dylan, Morgan, Alison and Hank; three great grandsons; four step daughters; and many dear friends. 

A memorial/celebration of her life, open to all, will take place Wednesday, June 13, 2 p.m. at the LCS South Campus.

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