Celia Ruiz Tomlinson has embarked onto her next adventure. Celia was born on Thursday, January 25, 1941 in San Miguel, Bulacan, Philippines and passed away peacefully at home with family on Sunday, November 29, 2020 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In between those years, she navigated a turbulent path becoming a pioneer in her profession. Celia emerged from absolute poverty in Manila. It was through education, tenacity, grit, and family support that she obtained her engineering degree and set out into the world by herself.
She immigrated to the United States in 1968 with only $300 and a civil engineering diploma from Mapua Institute of Technology. She settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she started a family and entered the workforce as a determined underdog. In 1970, she became New Mexico’s first registered female professional engineer and, in 1983, the first female engineer to serve on the State Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Surveyors. Also in 1983, she founded Rhombus, P.A., an engineering firm which operated for 25 years across the U.S. and abroad. Celia was named 1992 Minority Entrepreneur of the Year by the National Park Service. She also received New Mexico's "Outstanding Woman and Trailblazer" Award in 1999 and was the 2002 Asian Women in Business Entrepreneurial Leadership Award recipient.
Celia had a passion for writing and telling her story. She authored two books "The Woman's Guide to a Successful Career in Construction" (1979) and "Don't Ever Tell Me You Can't" (2001). She founded a non-profit affordable housing group, mentored students and entrepreneurs, and actively supported Filipino culture. Celia won 2nd place in the 1998 Toastmasters International’s District Humorous Speech contest and, after retiring from engineering, continued as a professional motivational speaker. She battled cancer for 8 years and consistently imparted her humorous perspectives on life with cancer in an empowering blog.
Celia’s presence was always warm with laughter, fun, and optimism. She lit up any room with her wit and wisdom. Celia’s family and friends know this very well. Even if one only shared a moment with her, they wouldn’t forget it – she wouldn’t have it any other way!
Celia was married for 35 years to Thomas Emery Tomlinson until his death in 2004, with whom she has son Thomas Clay Tomlinson. Later in life, she was married to Bruce Harders, from 2008 until his death in 2016. Celia is survived by her son, Thomas; daughter-in-law, Ana Andzic Tomlinson; grandson Oskar; stepchildren, Michele Andrews and Michael Tomlinson; sisters, Pagasa Leal and Ruby Ruiz Patsios; nieces and nephews; step-niece and step-nephews; and numerous other relatives.
Memorial service will be held on Friday, December 11, 2020, 4:00 p.m. Due to the pandemic, the service cannot be attended in-person so it will be streamed live at www.FrenchFunerals.com. In lieu of flowers, please donate to a fund for female engineering students at https://www.unmfund.org/fund/pnm-wesf/
Si CELIA RUIZ TOMLINSON, retiradong civil engineer, blogger, manunulat at motivational speaker, ay mapayapang namaalam noong November 29, 2020 sa Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, sa piling ng mga mahal sa buhay. Siya ay 78.
Naiwan ni Celia ang anak niyang si Thomas, manugang na si Ana Andzic Tomlinson, apong si Oskar, stepchildren niyang sina Michele Andrews at Michael Tomlinson, at dalawa niyang kapatid na sina Pagasa Ruiz Leal at Ruby Ruiz Patsios.
Si Celia ay isang magandang halimbawa ng taong walang kapantay ang determinasyon, tibay ng pag-asa at tapang ng loob. Galing sa matinding pagdarahop, nakarating siya ng Amerika nang walang pinanghahawakan maliban sa $300 na pinaghirapang ipunin ng magulang sa loob ng maraming taon at diploma niya sa civil engineering mula sa Mapua Institute of Technology sa Maynila. Sa Albuquerque, New Mexico siya tumira at namasukan habang nagsisimula ng sariling pamilya.
Hindi mabilang ang pagsubok na dinaaanan ni Celia sa pagtahak sa napili niyang propesyon. Nagbunga naman ang kanyang pagpupunyagi. Noong 1970, siya ang kauna-unahang babaeng natalang professional engineer sa Albuquerque, New Mexico. Siya rin ang kauna-unahang babaeng engineer na naupo sa State Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Surveyors noong 1983.
Itinatag niya noon ding 1983 ang Rhombus, P.A., isang engineering firm na nag-operate sa loob ng 25 taon sa buong U. S. at maging sa ibang bansa. Noong 1992 kinilala si Celia ng National Park Service bilang “1992 Minority Entrepreneur of the Year.” Kabilang sa iba pa niyang natanggap na karangalan ang “New Mexico's Outstanding Woman and Trailblazer Award” noong 1999 at ang “Asian Women in Business Entrepreneurial Leadership Award” noong 2002.
Sumulat si Celia ng dalawang aklat, "The Woman's Guide to a Successful Career in Construction" (1979) at "Don't Ever Tell Me you Can't" (2001). Nagtayo siya ng non-profit affordable housing group, nagturo sa mga estudyante at negosyante, at aktibong sumuporta sa kulturang Pilipino.
Nagpakita ng husay si Celia hindi lang sa pagsusulat kundi maging sa pagtatalumpati. Nanalo siya ng 2nd place sa 1998 Toastmasters International’s District Humorous Speech contest. Pagkaretiro niya sa engineering, tinuloy niya ang pagiging professional motivational speaker.
Hindi maitatangging malayo ang narating ni Celia mula sa hamak na dampang sinilangan niya sa San Miguel, Bulacan, sa Pilipinas, noong January 25, 1941.
Nagkaroon siya ng kanser ngunit hindi siya nagpagapi. Sa halip, ginamit niyang kasangkapan ang kanser at ang kanyang sense of humor sa pagsulat ng isang blog na nagdulot ng aliw at pag-asa sa lahat ng makakabasa, may kanser man sila o wala.
Masarap kasama si Celia. Masaya siyang kausap, punong-puno ng sigla, at maaliwalas ang pagtanaw sa buhay. Walang oras na malungkot pag nandun si Celia. Hahanap-hanapin siya ng pamilya at mga kaibigan.
Ang serbisyo sa alaala ay gaganapin sa Biyernes, Disyembre 11, 2020, 4:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (Sabado, Disyembre 12, 2020, 7 a.m. Manila Time). Dahil sa pandemya, ang serbisyo ay hindi maaaring dinaluhan nang personal kaya mai-stream ito nang live sa www.FrenchFunerals.com. Kapalit ng mga bulaklak, mangyaring magbigay ng pondo para sa mga babaeng mag-aaral sa engineering sa https://www.unmfund.org/fund/pnm-wesf/