Roberta Veloz, 1936-2020
Roberta Veloz was born in Butterfield, Missouri on April 4, 1936. Her father Orval was an auto mechanic and her mother Mary was a homemaker. They moved to Yuma, Arizona, and in 1942, they moved to Whittier, California. Along the way, they added Marci and Ken to their family.
Roberta was a happy big sister and a good student, and after high school she attended Whittier College. With a degree in biology, she became a medical technician at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena. In 1961, she married Tom Veloz; they had two sons, David and Peter. They bought a new home in Sunland, and Roberta spent the next dozen years raising her children.
She was a devoted mother who threw birthday parties, sewed Halloween costumes, and made Christmas mornings magical. She also organized summer road trips and family camps, creating memories the boys would keep throughout their lives. She shepherded them to Little League games and music lessons, to Scout meetings and band practices. She made sure they did their homework, and though the din coming from their bedrooms was often thunderous, she insisted they practice their guitars and drums.
Roberta loved to entertain. She and Tom were part of a circle of friends who got together often for backyard barbecues and poker parties, and Roberta always made sure her home was a welcoming gathering spot. Her holiday dinners were elaborate aﬀairs, and both sides of the family looked forward to breaking out the good silver for a delicious meal.
Roberta read voraciously; there was always a Michener or a Ludlum open somewhere in the house. She solved the crossword puzzle every morning. She also fixed fences, midwifed puppies, played catch, built chicken coops, baked cookies, and one summer, she and a friend took a car trip through the Southwest into Mexico. Through it all, she was there for her sons.
In 1977, Roberta went back to work to help Tom run Aquafine Corporation, the manufacturing company founded by his father in 1949. She realized she had an aptitude for business. She took some management courses and within a short time, she ran the production department. That same year, Roberta and her family moved to the Santa Clarita Valley, and three years later, Aquafine also relocated to the SCV.
In 1992, after she and Tom divorced, Roberta acquired Aquafine. Under her leadership, the company’s sales grew dramatically over the next thirteen years while Aquafine became recognized as a world leader in ultraviolet water disinfection. Roberta also became active in the community. She joined Soroptimist International and traveled to conferences around the world. She served on the boards of The Samuel Dixon Health Foundation and the Child & Family Center. Roberta was also a board member of the College Of The Canyons Foundation, and she
raised money for several COC capital campaigns. She joined the board of the Henry Mayo Newhall Health Foundation and later served on the on the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Governing Board as well. She became a member of the Board of Trustees at Whittier College, and in 1994, she donated $1 million to endow Garrett House, a faculty-in-residence program named after her parents. In 1998, she was named Santa Clarita Woman Of The Year, and in 1999, she received the COC Foundation Silver Spur Award.
Roberta sold Aquafine and retired in December of 2005. That same month, she made a generous donation of $3 million to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital to create a new Cardiac Cath Lab, which bears her name. After retirement, she redoubled her philanthropic eﬀorts, and supporting a variety of worthy causes up until her passing.
Roberta is predeceased by her mother and father, Mary and Orval Garrett, by her former husband Thomas Veloz, by her sister-in-law Elaine Veloz, and by her brother-in-law, Jim Evans. She is survived by her sister Marcia Evans, her brother and sister-in-law Ken and Janine Garrett, by her son David Veloz, by her son and daughter-in-law, Peter and Karen Veloz, and by her grandchildren Hunter Veloz, Noah Veloz, Cole Veloz, Torrey Veloz, Olivia Veloz, Oskar Veloz, and Owen Veloz.