Erickson-Anderson Mortuary

8390 Allison Ave, La Mesa, CA


Gilbert Santillan Grajeda

December 6, 1922August 31, 2019

He made the best of a life. Gilbert Grajeda was born and raised in San Diego and the oldest of eight children. Most people will remember him best for his good-natured spirit and kindness, enormous level of patience, willingness to help and teach others, and his innate ability to make people laugh and convince a troubled soul that things will be okay. He is survived by Gloria, his wife of 69 years, his son Richard and daughter Irene. He has two wonderful grandchildren, Jonathan and Ashley, and lived to know his seven beautiful great-grandchildren. Throughout his life Gilbert was dedicated to service. Starting with his service in the Civilian Conservation Corporation (CCC Camp) as a teenager which led to being hired into the California Forestry Division as an official fire fighter. When WWII broke out, he joined the Navy at 19 and served most of his time at Peral Harbor as a tugboat master. After his military service, Gilbert got married and worked for the City of San Diego’s Street Division for 36 years. In retirement he continued to serve. In 1985 he joined the Knights of Columbus, participated in the Color Corps, and retired after 27 years. In 2002, Gilbert trained with the California Highway Patrol and was selected into their volunteer force that serviced the CHP officer patrol. Despite Gilbert’s accomplishments and level of excellence achieved in his pursuits, his immediate family knew him to be very humble and unassuming. He often said that he did not consider himself smart but that he strived to do the best that he could. What he did not appreciate, however, was that his commitment “to do the best that he could” is what made him so successful in life. He demonstrated every day the value of a strong work ethic and a willingness to learn. He possessed an innate ability to analyze a difficult situation and devise a simple solution. His level of common sense was uncanny. Despite not having architectural training, he successfully taught himself how to develop construction plans (suitable for submission to the county building commission) and completed several large-scale home construction projects. He built furniture and cabinetry for the family home that is still in use today. At nearly 97, he was still driving and caring for his home and family. Gilbert had a plan to live to 100 years old. Although he missed this goal by a few years, he lived a life that was meaningful and enriched. His family recently found a transcript of an interview he participated in 10 years ago. He was asked, “what surprises you most about mankind?” Gilbert responded “that people get bored being children and are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again. That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health. That people think anxiously about the future and forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor future. They live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived…”. This insight comes from a humble man who thought he wasn’t very smart. He paid attention to many things when others thought he was not watching, then shared these observations at an appropriate moment. More importantly, he demonstrated how to make the best of a life. He will be missed but his spirit will live on through each of us who knew him.


19 September

Funeral Service

10:30 am - 11:30 am

Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church

2766 Navajo Road
El Cajon, CA 92020

19 September

Graveside Service

2:00 pm - 2:30 pm

El Camino Memorial - Sorrento Valley

5600 Carroll Canyon Rd
San Diego, CA 92121


  • Visitation Wednesday, September 18, 2019


Gilbert Santillan Grajeda

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