2018 Tucson LIVEr Champion
FELIPE DE JESUS CELIS RUIZ
February 5, 1957 – May 26, 2018
Felipe de Jesus Celis Ruiz was born on February 5, 1957 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. He was the fourth of eight children born to the union of Benito and Rita Celis. At five years old, his family relocated to Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico where he would spend the following eight years. At the age of 13, he moved to California with his brother and sister-in-law, Lalo and Ofelia, where he began junior high school. He finished his education in Tucson graduating from Cholla High School in 1976 and later from Chaparral College.
One of his first jobs in Tucson was as an ice cream truck driver, then a DJ at a Hispanic radio station and finally a buyer for a local metal company. Felipe was very close to his parents and siblings and his love was reflected in everything he did; however, his true love came into his life when he met his wife, Loly. His wife, children and grandchildren were his pride and joy. Loly, Dina, Oscar, Yajaira, Felipe, Karina, Fernando, Alejandro, Oscar Jr., Nayelli and Arianette meant the world to him. He enjoyed traveling with his family, getting together for a cookout or watching a movie with his grandkids. I can still see that joyous smile – the smile of his inner child when talking about his family.
Felipe loved music, sports, dancing, but, what he loved the most, was lending a helping hand to anyone in need. He was a selfless person who was willing to help without any questions.
Felipe struggled for a few years with liver failure but his hope for a lengthier life came on October 15, 2015 when he received the call that a matching liver had been found. He was fearful of the unknown but he was also hopeful for a new beginning. He dreamed of returning to work, of being able to provide for his family, of seeing his children and grandchildren grow up, of walking his daughters down the aisle one day. However, that is not what our Lord had planned for him. Almost three years after his liver transplant He decided that it was time to bring our beloved Felipe home. Felipe passed away peacefully on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 12:34 p.m. surrounded by his wife, children, brothers and sisters.
“Team Felipe” first participated in the Liver Life Walk in 2015, after Felipe’s liver transplant. Felipe wanted to do something special to show how thankful he was of his new gift so he asked his niece Elizabeth to help him join the Liver Life Walk. He was so thrilled when family and friends joined “Team Felipe” and when contributions were made towards his goal. “Team Felipe” has won every award for the last two years and 2018 will not be the exception. This year’s Liver Life Walk will be even more meaningful as Felipe’s spirit will be walking with us.
Felipe left an infinite circle of family and friends including the doctors and nurses at Banner University Medical Center. We are forever thankful for your kindness and support. Felipe will be forever missed but his legacy of love will continue.
John 14: 1-2 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?