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Paths of Two Wonderful Women Cross, Resulting in a Long-lasting Friendship

HOLTVILLE — Two God-fearing women and community contributors can be found in Dora De Paoli and Ruth Chambers; but most of all, a true friendship.

Holtville hallmarks in the city, the women are of Swedish descent, with their families being immigrants who came from Switzerland to the United States.

Dora and Ruth developed a strong bond and friendship shortly after Ruth’s husband died 14 years ago. 

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“They started doing things together like going on outings to see flowers and cactus blooming in the desert, visiting home gardens and taking daily walks,” said Tony De Paoli, Dora’s son.

But these ladies have gone beyond just caring for their families, they are trying to keep Holtville clean by picking up trash during their walks. 

Dora DePaoli

Dora, a mother of five children and grandmother to six, said passing the trash she walked by daily wasn’t an open.

“I hated to see paper and stuff (on the ground), and Ruth and I just started cleaning this up during our walks.” 

“She is able to adapt to things and tries to do her best,” Tony said of his mother. “She lives by scripture Bible verse Proverbs 3:5-6, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.’”

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Dora follows up with her favorite phrase, “if it’s not a broken leg, it is OK.”

“My mom and dad, Dr. John ‘Buck’ De Paoli Jr., were a team, and mom is still concerned with IVC. She was so excited because they resurfaced Aten Road going to IVC, and the landscaping is beautiful,” Tony said. 

Ruth Chambers

Ruth Chambers is a mother of two and grandmother of five. She has taught piano for over 25 years and was a homemaker. She also worked in her husband’s office while their kids were in college.

“It was God’s gift to me to have such a special person in my life. Dora reached out to me when my husband died, and we used to walk every day in the evenings,” Ruth said of her friendship with Dora.  

“Life is full of experiences, and we are not all robots. It is really important to learn from people around us especially the elderly who have wisdom,” said Ruth.

COVID-19 Thoughts

During this COVID-19 pandemic and the heat coming on, Ruth and Dora have not been going on their walks as frequently.   

“It is kind of nice with all these things stopping (referring to COVID-19), you don’t have to feel you are on the treadmill going and going. Patience during the COVID-19 (pandemic) is truly trying to see what God is telling us during this season, gives us a lot of time to reflect,” said Ruth.  

Woman’s Club of Holtville

Ruth has been in the Woman’s Club of Holtville for many years. Ruth said there are many groups, but the one that she enjoys the most is the garden group of which she was chairperson in 1994. 

Referring to the different flowers and plants that can be found in the desert, “(It’s) fascinating how God plants the flowers and God waters them,” said Ruth.

Ruth mentions some locations she has visited through the garden group of the Woman’s Club of Holtville, which include Coronado, Julian, Ocotillo, Borrego, community farms and residential homes.

“You can appreciate what the Indians always looked for to make medicine and baskets — they lived off the land,” she said.  

Some of the flowers and plants Ruth mentioned were the desert calico, blazing star, desert unicorn, rock daisy, monkey flower bush, purple verbena, desert willow, orchid trees (purple and pink), lilan goldfield, wildflowers, smoke tree, and chupa rosa.

“During COVID-19, the Women’s Club is closed,” said Ruth. She has found other areas to keep herself busy.  

In recent days, Ruth has been focusing on getting more organized, reading more, and spending time with her five grandchildren. 

“I am busy thinking about what they need. Also enjoy swimming at my son’s house,” she said. Both Dora and Ruth are an example to those around them. May their friendship continue as they care for others and their community.


This story is featured in the June 04, 2020 e-Edition.