Delia Josefa Lafaurie was an enthusiastic teacher of the Faith who served as a pioneer in El Salvador and later contributed to development of the training institute in Southern California.
She passed away May 19, 2012, at age 60. She had lived in Moreno Valley for about 20 years.
In a letter of condolence to her husband, Ricardo, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States wrote, “Her shining example of service, along with you, as a pioneer to El Salvador, where she served as Auxiliary Board Member, is recalled with admiration and deep gratitude.”
Born in Medellin, Colombia, in 1951, Delia was brought up in a devout Catholic family. She was interested in and inquisitive about matters of faith from an early age.
Soon after graduating high school in the early 1970s she moved to Los Angeles, then met and married Ricardo Lafaurie, who was joining the U.S. Air Force. Their sons, Ricardo Jr. and José, were born while he was stationed in Panama City, Panama.
After learning of the Faith, Delia became a Baha’i in 1981 during a visit to the Baha’i House of Worship on Cerro Sonsonate overlooking the city.
Their older son had developed health problems, and a reassignment that year to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland made it easier to have him treated at Washngton-area facilities.
Along with her husband, who accepted the Faith in 1983, Delia was for years a vital part of the Baha’i community in Prince Georges County, Maryland. She was a member of the Local Spiritual Assembly, co-produced the local newsletter, and in addition to teaching Baha’i children’s classes worked at the local Air Force child care center.
A reassignment to El Salvador in 1988 provided the family an opportunity to serve as international Baha’i pioneers. Delia helped translate Baha’i study materials, gave presentations at summer schools, and co-produced the national bulletin Mundo Baha’i. Serving as an Auxiliary Board member for about a year, she traveled to a number of pueblos to strengthen their capacity to build spiritual communities. Once in November 1989, she had to wait out crossfire from a battle in El Salvador’s civil war on her trip home after traveling to deliver a talk at an observance of the anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah.
The Lafauries offered their home in San Salvador for teaching of the Faith. They adopted a daughter, Delia Hedyeh, while in the country.
At the end of her husband’s term of service in El Salvador, the family moved to Moreno Valley in 1991. While bringing up Hedyeh and continuing to care for Ricardo Jr., Delia resumed her studies in early childhood education, which she had begun in Colombia and continued in Maryland. Over the years she earned bachelor’s degrees in several disciplines and a master’s degree in sociology.
In academics and in her education career, she worked to weave Baha’i principles in with established education ethics. She taught in institutions across Southern California from 2000 through 2007.
In addition to continued teaching of the Faith, she served on the board of the Southern California Regional Training Institute in the early 2000s.
Delia experienced a decline in health beginning 2008, obliging her to stay at home. Her son Ricardo Jr. preceded her in death in 2010.
Delia Lafaurie is survived by her hisband, Ricardo; her daughter, Hedyeh; and a son, José.
“She is remembered with deep love by the members of her former communities, and especially by her family, friends, and the Local and National Spiritual Assemblies of El Salvador,” a message from the family says. “Her undoubted ascent into the Kingdom of Abha and her efforts here on Earth are praised by them loudly and with glory to God!”
Information from the Office of International Pioneering and the Lafaurie family