Mariaelena Vega, a resident of Davis for 35 years, passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her loved ones, after a long battle with cancer.
She was born in Caraz, Peru to Alfredo and Iris Hidalgo. Growing up in the mountains of Peru, she loved dancing, singing and dramatic arts, choosing to study architecture in college.
In the early 1980’s, she moved to Davis when her husband, Eduardo Vega, started his graduate studies at UCDavis. A resilient and dedicated mother, she raised her children while she ran a day care program as she enjoyed taking care of babies and toddlers. Later she spent time at the Davis High School assisting Hispanic students in the English as a Second Language program.
In 1989, Marielena co-founded, with her husband, Vega Farms Inc., a local poultry company. Ahead of her time she made sure hens were never kept in cages, and began selling eggs at the Davis Farmers Market and the Davis Food Coop. Thanks in part to her dedication and commitment to their family business, Vega Farms has grown into a state-wide supplier of commercial baby chicks.
Mariaelena loved music and was an accomplished Peruvian Folk singer performing locally and in Peruvian Festivals in Sacramento. She was a passionate advocate for mental health, member of the local NAMI branch, as well as an active supporter of mental health programs for the indigent in her native Peru. A devout catholic and member of the Saint James Church, she was a choir member for several years. She also supported several church social programs in her native highlands of Peru.
She is survived by her brother Eberth Hidalgo; husband, Eduardo Vega; son Chrystian Vega; daughter Christie Apodaca, son-in-law Joseph Apodaca; son Ramsi Vega, daughter-in-law Angela Vega; daughter Cynthia Sluis, and son-in-law Ben Sluis; and grandchildren: Alison Apodaca, Amanda Apodaca, Natalia Vega, Antonio Vega, Alexa Vega, Cristiano Vega, Isabel Sluis and Clara Sluis.
A funeral service will be held on Friday November 17 at 11 a.m. at Saint James Church in Davis, followed by a reception for a celebration of Marielena’s life.