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Rosary Celaya Castro-Olega

Rosary Celaya Castro-Olega Family image

It was hard to miss Rosary Celaya Castro-Olega when she made her nursing rounds on the eighth floor of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s south tower in Los Angeles.

Decked out in purple scrubs, her personality was on full display.

“Even after 12-hour shifts, she made it to birthdays and anniversaries,” her daughter, Tiffany Olega, said. “And she was always on the dance floor.”

Mrs. Castro-Olega worked as a registered nurse for 37 years before retiring in 2017. She continued to volunteer at short-staffed hospitals in Los Angeles County. And when the pandemic hit, she showed up without hesitation.

Her daughter said it was not known if her mother was infected through contact with patients. But in mid-March, Mrs. Castro-Olega went to the emergency room with a bad cough and fever and tested positive for Covid-19. She spent her final days on a ventilator in intensive care at the Panorama City Medical Center and died on March 29. She was 63.

“I just can’t believe she’s gone,” her best friend, Annie Neal, said. “I have the urge to text her, but I can’t.”

Mrs. Castro-Olega was always ready for fun, whether it was riding roller coasters at Disneyland or cheering at Kobe Bryant’s last N.B.A. game — dressed in purple gear, naturally.

“She’d do anything for anybody,” Ms. Neal said. “She’s our purple angel.”

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Annette Choi ( 2020 )

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