Duarte Mayor Pro Tem Tzeitel Paras-Caracci has died following a nearly 3-year battle against lung cancer, Mayor Margaret Finlay announced Monday. She was 49.
Paras-Caracci was first elected to the council in 2001. She was the first Filipino-American to be elected to the Duarte City Council and the first Duarte High School graduate. She served as mayor in 2006, 2011, 2015 and 2019.
Paras-Caracci was also a member of the National League of Cities Board of Directors, the League of California Cities Board of Directors and president of the Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials. She was also a director for the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, a governing board member of Foothill Transit and a board member of the Duarte Community Coordinating Council.
“We have suffered a huge loss in our city and I am profoundly saddened as Tzeitel was an immensely capable member of our Council, as well as a great personal friend to me, as well as many others,” Finlay said. “Her smile and energy were infectious, and it was an honor to serve on council with her.
Born Aug. 8, 1972, in Quezon City, Philippines and named for the eldest daughter from the Broadway musical, “Fiddler on the Roof,” Paras-Caracci and her family moved to Los Angeles in 1975 and to Duarte in 1985. She graduated from Duarte High School in 1989 and Woodbury University in Burbank.
Paras-Caracci died at her home surrounded by family on Saturday, Finlay said.
Paras-Caracci is survived by her parents, Lino and Russel Paras, her husband, K.C. Caracci, stepdaughter Dr. Blake Caracci, and their son, Jack Russell and her brothers Bertrand and John Paul George. In lieu of flowers, the family asked those that wish to honor Paras-Caracci to donate to the City of Hope at cityofhope.org/giving/give-honor-or-memory.