Cheerful presence around the Village for decades, gifted gardener, former Claremont Colleges employee
Silviano Aguilar, a longtime presence in the Claremont community, died January 16 at the age of 76.
Silviano was born on October 18, 1944 in Jalisco, Mexico, and at the age of 16 moved to La Verne. As a young man, he worked in the area’s citrus orchards and for a paper company.
Later, he became a building attendant at the Claremont Colleges. He worked many years with the professors, taking care of their classrooms. He was very well liked by the faculty, staff and students, and received a handsome watch when he retired that he wore proudly for the rest of his life.
In his retirement, he continued working as a gardener for many homes in the Claremont Village, “where he was beloved as a guardian angel, watching over the neighborhood,” his friends shared. “He would exclaim, ‘It’s a beautiful day!’ and then ask about everyone in your family.”
He called people “amigo,” “mija,” or other endearing nicknames. Known for whistling and talking to the roses and “matas,” he also loved children and taught them how to garden. Always smiling with a twinkle in his eyes, he would often tell stories and discuss the news. He treated everyone like a friend, and talked to people walking by, greeting most with hugs.
Deep into his seventies, Mr. Aguilar could be found climbing up in trees to prune them; he also helped plant trees and loved to stake them with bamboo poles. He said that he had planted eucalyptus trees in the median on Foothill Boulevard.
He was full of energy and never sat down unless it was to eat and talk with friends. He loved candy and joked that he had syrup in his veins. Generous with time and gifts, he loved to visit his family in Mexico and bring them suitcases full of presents. His life was a lesson in how to delight in life’s simple pleasures like soaking in sunshine and marveling at how plants and children grow. He was a happy soul, teaching the community with his presence that it is possible to enjoy life and be content with modest material possessions.
An energetic sportsman and avid bicyclist, he rode his bike up Mt. Baldy every Sunday morning for years. Legend has it that he even once jumped into the Tour de California, beating racers half his age to the top of Mt. Baldy Road. He also enjoyed playing the lottery every week and going to the horse races at Santa Anita. “He was always there,” said one family member. “He wanted to hit the longshot!”
“He was a positive, winsome, caring person with a big heart, always willing to help regardless of whether he even knew the person,” his friends said. “Silviano was always the first one in line to offer help for someone. He was full of joy, and he passed it on.”
Mr. Aguilar spent his last days at the home of his brother, Tony, where he succumbed to prostate cancer, which had spread to his bones.
“He peacefully passed from this life to the next and went home to meet his maker,” his friends shared.
He is survived by his brother, Antonio (Tony) Aguilar (wife Libra); sister Alicia; brother Ignacio; and many nieces and nephews.
“Silviano will be greatly missed by the many people who loved the dapper gentleman in the red Angels’ cap handing out roses,” said his friends. “His memory brings a smile to the hearts of those who cherish his memory.”