Crash Victim Dies
A quickie meal was on Lucille Cordoza’s radar Saturday. She finished work at the Madelyn Helling Library, according to friends, and headed to a burger joint somewhere south of Grass Valley she’d heard about.
“She was a fast-food lover,” said Bill Rejebian, a technical services librarian, said. “She had a little Jack in the Box thing on her antenna. When they tore down the old Jack in the Box, she was very upset and couldn’t wait for them to build the new one.”
Rejebian said the burger business was possibly in Colfax. He never learned for sure.
Heading southbound on Highway 174 near Meadow Drive, Cordoza’s Cadillac inexplicably crossed the double-yellow lines and crashed into an oncoming Honda sedan. The 85-year-old Grass Valley woman suffered a closed head injury and lacerated liver and spleen.
She died of those injuries Monday, according to a Sutter Roseville Medical Center spokeswoman. The other driver, 17-year old Kristin Meyer, was in good condition.
The news stunned employees in the Nevada County library system, where Cordoza first worked in the 1970s, according to a co-worker.
“Her mind was still very clear. She was a super sweet lady,” Rejebian said. “I think she represented a grandmother for everybody on the staff – just a very affectionate lady to everyone.”
Sue Richards, a friend and former co-worker, recalled taking aimless road trips through the county’s back roads with Cordoza. A widow, Cordoza often discussed her family, which included a daughter in Sonoma, twin granddaughters and great-grandchildren.
“She was a beautiful woman and was always known for wearing a hat. And wherever we’d go, people usually stopped her and complimented her on her hat,” Richards said. “And she always dressed like a lady and acted like a lady.”
Cordoza had worked at the Grass Valley Public Library at least since 1976, according to library assistant Laverne Vaughan, who started that year. She said Cordoza retired, returned as a volunteer, then started working part time two years ago.
She kept track of the Helling Library’s magazines on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. Rejebian said she was like a hawk.
“You knew if you looked at a magazine and left it on your desk, Lu would come looking for it,” he said.
Cordoza’s reading interests involved magazines, particularly show biz news, according to Vaughan. This meshed with her interest in movies.
“But she loved wholesome movies,” Vaughan said. “She didn’t like any movies that were racy in the least, or had swearing in them.”
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