Mary Helen Casamajor Mary Helen Casamajor, lifelong Chicoan and architect of the Chico State alumni program, passed away in Chico at age 84 on Sunday, Feb. 19, after a decade-long struggle with Alzheimer's disease. She was preceded in death by her husband of more than 60 years, former Chico mayor Gordon H. Casamajor, by three years to the day.

She is survived by her children, Jon Casamajor and Dan Casamajor of Chico, Robert Casamajor of Fair Oaks, and Marie Casamajor of Santa Rosa; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Born Mary Helen Erwin on Oct. 18, 1921, to parents who came to California from Michigan and farmed near Meridian before moving to Chico, she attended Chico schools while residing on a ranch along Lindo Channel west of the present Hwy. 32. She earned a Bachelor's degree from Chico State College in 1942 after reigning as Little Nell for the 1941 Pioneer Days celebration. She met Gordon Casamajor, then a lieutenant and flight instructor at the Chico Army Air Base, on a blind date in the fall of 1942, and they were married the day after Christmas the same year.

The date had been arranged by Gordon's commanding officer, W.I. "Alec" Alexander, whose daughter Lynn later married Robert Casamajor.

She was a mother and homemaker who was active in community affairs and social organizations through the 1950s and 1960s. With her children in college, she took a position with California State University, Chico, as an assistant administrator in 1968. She soon became the university's first full-time staff director of the alumni program, which had previously been overseen by part-time faculty coordinators. Over the next 20-plus years, she built the program into a thriving organization with a $7-million annual budget and thousands of members. Along the way, she also took on management of the university's multi-site commencement ceremonies and countless other tasks. The crowning achievement of her tenure at Chico State was the successful acquisition of a stately Victorian home at Third and Normal Streets, now known as Ella Caroline Sapp Hall, to serve as alumni headquarters.

She and Gordon vacationed for many years at their condominium at Kona, Hawaii. They were avid golfers who were devoted to family life and the Chico community.

A memorial service will be held on the Chico State campus Friday, March 3, in PAC 134, the Taylor Recital Hall (West First Street at Normal Street) at 1:00 PM, with a reception to follow at Sylvester's (across campus behind the Administration Building).

The family requests donations in lieu of flowers to the Chico State Alumni Association or the Chico Cat Coalition, in care of Brusie Funeral Home, 626 Broadway, Chico, CA, 95926.
Published in the Chico Enterprise-Record on 2/28/2006.