Ann-Marie Vargas

Ann-Marie VargasAnn-Marie Hollar Vargas passed away unexpectedly Dec. 6, 2017, in her home at the young age of 50.

Services are being planned for Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 at the All Faith Chapel on the NAWS station at 10:30 am. A reception will follow at Grace Lutheran Church at 502 N. Norma Street.

Ann-Marie was born Aug. 11, 1967, in Ridgecrest. At an early age she exhibited a talent for art and a strong connection with horses. After graduating from Burroughs High School in 1985, she worked to support herself and her family as she put herself through college, ultimately to pursue her passion of art which lead to her becoming a teacher. She graduated from Stanislaus State University in 1993 with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, and later earned her single subject teaching credential in Art education and Master’s degree in Education.

She returned to her home town of Ridgecrest to teach art, where she has since inspired and influenced a countless number of students through working in the Murray Middle School and Burroughs High School Art Departments. Further, she was known for her extensive mentoring and absolute devotion to her students, to not only include her current and active students but to keep in touch and help to develop former students. One of Ann-Marie’s passion was encouraging those to continually develop artistic talent in her students as well as her own. Ann-Marie was beloved by all and had impact across the valley. She was a phenomenally caring and compassionate person, as well as a role model for all to follow and the type of person you wished you could emulate. Ultimately, Ann-Marie had high impact in shaping the lives of the students in the valley for over 23+ years and it shows when you hear the stories and the kind words that resonate when her name is mentioned. Ann-Marie may have departed this earth, however, her legacy will continue on and we all will carry a piece of Ann-Marie with us everyday. Ann-Marie made us all better for not only knowing her but also being allowed to be part of her incredible life here on earth.

This school year was Ann-Marie’s 24th year teaching Art, her absolute passion in life. Not only was she a teacher, but she was a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt where she had high impact and influence over her personal family as well as her school family. Ann-Marie was the Art Department Chair and a PAR committee member for SSUSD. Ann-Marie was a member of countless organizations and activities in the Art community and always working on a project or some form of art in her spare time. While Ann-Marie was pursuing her MS degree, she wrote and illustrated a Children’s book for her thesis. Ann Marie was not only a mentor to all her students and family but she was always found in her classroom with her open door policy throughout the day along with providing all students a place to go at lunchtime. She was the consummate professional and mother to all, ensuring a safe place for any person or student who was in need. She took the time to give each and every one the attention they needed and to let them know that they mattered. Ann-Marie developed an Advanced Placement (AP) Art program for students who excelled at Art and to prepare them to enter the profession she loved. Ann-Marie had the innate ability to bring to out the best in everybody and it shows in all of the students’ art and the lives that she touched in her incredible journey. Ann-Marie’s artistic talent spread into the church by providing liturgical art for the church, teaching Sunday school, and vacation bible school affirming her faith and trust in the Lord. Most notably, some of the most amazing pieces she made were the stages and props for RMES plays, and she did it effortlessly and with ease with her classic smile adorning us all. Ann-Marie was beloved by all, family, students, faculty, staff, and everybody she crossed paths with – she is an icon, a person we all want to be.

Ann-Marie is survived by her husband of 27 years, Fernando Vargas and their three children, Gabriel, Isabella and Alexander, all of Ridgecrest; mother, Ginny Hollar of Ridgecrest; sister, Jennifer and husband John A. Johnson of Ridgecrest; nephew, Steele Johnson of Ridgecrest; and countless other nieces, nephews and extended relatives. She was preceded in death by her father, Glen Hollar.

Arrangements are being provided by Holland & Lyons Mortuary.

Donations in her memory may be made to Habitat for Humanity, 1201 N. China Lake Blvd., Ridgecrest, CA 93555.

Story First Published: 2017-12-11