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The Munguías

A love story

This town recently bid farewell to a couple who contributed immeasurably to making Puerto Vallarta the wonderful place that it is, Carlos Munguía Fregoso and his wife of 41 years, Elena Rose Castell.

It was love at first sight, she just 15 and visiting from San Francisco and he 18, the couple marrying seven years later and never far from one another's side until separated by her death. But only thee months later, he joined her when in the midst of preparing a meal to honor the day she was born.

(Even if you didn't know them, the name Munguía may well ring a bell because of the wonderful local bakery that has been in their family for more than a hundred years.)

An artist, Elena was perhaps best known for her quiet support of her family - children Carlos, Luis and Laura and seven grandchildren - yet painting local landscapes and indigenous faces never ceased to move her. She also created exquisite rag dolls in typical Mexican costumes, taught art, and ran a popular quilting group and an art gallery-restaurant with Carlos.

As our official city historian, Carlos played a pivotal role in Puerto Vallarta and knew more about its past than anyone, gathering a king's ransom in precious old photos, maps and other documents detailing the area's pre-modern era. Those attending the many events where he spoke or his photos were displayed were enraptured by his intimate knowledge of the town he so loved and his humble presence. Most recently he was the president of our public library, and previously the head of our city cultural department. A prolific writer, he published four books and myriad papers and articles that now comprise a vital part of Puerto Vallarta's patrimony.

And while both were cornerstones of their beloved PV and their close-knit family, friends reminisce about how genuinely sweet, kind and caring they were, always going the extra mile for everyone.


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