Obituary of Cecil Vargas Terronez
May 1, 2017
Cecil Vargas Terronez, longtime Nevada County tile contractor and popular softball player and coach, died peacefully April 13 at Spring Hill Manor in Grass Valley. He was 81. A gifted athlete from boyhood, Cecil remembered the day in middle school when a tall officer in full military uniform showed up at his classroom and asked the teacher if he could speak to Cecil. Scared and puzzled, the boy went outside with the officer. The imposing visitor, from a nearby air station, asked Cecil if he would like to play for the base fastpitch softball team – as pitcher. "Yes!" he answered. Cecil was 13. Unfortunately, he only pitched two games before his young age and team politics got in the way – but it was the start of a lifelong passion for competitive softball.
Cecil was born in Cameron, Texas, one of seven children of Jesus and Paula Terronez. His father was from Guanajuato, Mexico, and his mother was a native Texan. The family later moved to Corcoran, near Fresno, where his dad worked for a large farming company. Cecil harvested cotton and picked grapes as summer jobs. He graduated from Corcoran High School, where he played baseball and football – and met a local girl, Bobbie Chaffin. The high school sweethearts married, and Cecil began his career as a tile setter in Fresno. They had three children: Michael, Larry, and Sandra.
As his family grew, Cecil continued playing competitive fastpitch softball for teams in the Central Valley. (Among his opponents during the 1960s was the legendary Hanford Kings.) Then, in 1968, his work took him to San Jose and he gave up softball, turning his attention to raising his family and following his kids' sports. After getting his contractor's license in 1978, Cecil moved to Grass Valley and started his own business, C.T. Tile. Over the years, he worked with some of the area's best tile setters and general contractors. Softball was still in his blood and he began playing with local teams: Three Bears Tile, The Gold Bowl and Flume Room. Then he started his own team, C.T. Tile, playing locally and traveling to out-of-town tournaments. At those weekend tournaments, Cecil enjoyed sticking around on Sunday to watch the championship game, regardless of who was playing. "C.T." was known for his generosity at the beer booth, so he always sat with a crowd during that final game. Near the end of his playing and coaching days, Cecil went to a tournament in Roseville. His team was already knocked out of competition, but as usual C.T. stayed and bought beer for the guys. As the final pitch was thrown, the tournament handed out a Beer Trophy. The winner? C.T. Tile. It was the final trophy his team would win – and a fitting symbol for Cecil Terronez's lifelong love for the friends he made in softball and work. Cecil Terronez is survived by his son Michael and wife, Peggy, son Larry and wife, Jodie, daughter Sandra, and his stepson, Kenny Brose, all residents of Grass Valley. He's also survived by his two sisters, Guadalupe and Janie; thirteen grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. A celebration of Cecil's life will be held July 8 at 2 p.m. at Memorial Park in Grass Valley.