Author Archives: Lina-Maria Murillo

About Lina-Maria Murillo

Lina-Maria Murillo is Assistant Professor in the departments of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies and History at the University of Iowa. She is completing her first book titled Fighting for Control: Power, Reproductive Care, and Race in the U.S-Mexico Borderlands. In it she examines the century-long tensions between advocates for population control, namely proponents of Planned Parenthood, and Chicana activists committed to greater reproductive access for the majority Mexican-origin women in the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez region. Her work has been supported by several grants and fellowships, including from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Rewire News, and Notches. She has several forthcoming articles including, “Birth Control, Border Control: The Movement for Contraception in El Paso, Texas 1936–1940” with the Pacific Historical Review and “Espanta Ciügeñas: Race and Abortion in the U.S-Mexico Borderlands,” in Signs: A Journal of Women and Culture in Society. Murillo is also co-director of the Maternal Health and Reproductive Politics Obermann collaborative at UIowa.

Gender and Intimacy Across the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands Conference

web_bannerCheck out the schedule for this fantastic conference presented by the University of California Santa Barbara!

September 30-October 1, 2016

For more information contact:

Miroslava Chávez-Garcia, Ph.D.


Tel: 530-219-3933

September 30, 2016
5:00-5:15 pm: Welcome & Introduction, Sharon Farmer, Chair & Professor, History
5:15-6:00 pm: Keynote Speaker, Dr. Alexandra M. Stern, Professor of American Culture, Women’s Studies, History, and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan.
6:00-8:00 pm: Catered Dinner & Informal Discussion
October 1, 2016
8:00-8:45 am: Coffee, Tea, and Light Refreshments
8:45-9:00 am: Welcome & Introductions, Miroslava Chávez-Garcia & Verónica Castillo-Muñoz

Session I
9:00-10:30 am: Cultural Studies, Media, & Personal Narratives in Contemporary U.S.-Mexico Borderlands
Laura Barraclough, Assistant Professor, American Studies, Yale University, “Charro Masculinity in Motion: Gender, Sexuality, and the Family on Hulu’s Los Cowboys”
Juan Llamas-Rodríguez, Ph.D. Candidate, Film & Media, UCSB, “The Familial Ties of the Female NarcoTrafficker”
Jennifer Tyburczy, Assistant Professor, Feminist Studies, UCSB, “Sex Toys after NAFTA: Transnational Class Politics, Erotic Consumerism, and the Economy of Female Pleasure in Mexico City”
Deborah Boehm, Associate Professor, Anthropology and Women’s Studies/Gender, Race, and Identity, University of Nevada Reno, “Divided by Citizenship and/or Geography: Partnerships in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands”
Commentators: D. Inés Casillas, Associate Professor, Chicana/o Studies, UCSB, & Leisy Abrego, Associate Professor, Chicana/o Studies, UCLA
Audience: Comment

Session II
10:45 am-12:15 pm: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Gender, Marriage, and Intimacy in 20th-Century U.S.-Mexico Borderlands
Celeste Menchaca, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, History, Texas Christian University, “Staging Crossings: Policing and Performing Difference at the U.S.-Mexico Border, 1906-1917”
Marla A. Ramírez, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Sociology and Sexuality Studies, SFSU, “Transnational Gender Formations: A Banished U.S. Citizen Woman Negotiates Motherhood & Marriage Across the U.S.-Mexico Border”
Jane Lily López, Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology, UCSD, “Together and Apart: Mixed-Citizenship Couples in the Mexican Border Region”
Commentators: Denise Segura, Professor, Sociology, UCSB, & Verónica Castillo-Muñoz, Assistant Professor, History, UCSB
Audience: Comment
Lunch Break: 12:15 pm – 1:15 pm

Session III
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm: Contesting Gender, Family, and Marriage in the 19th-Century U.S.-Borderlands
Margie Brown-Coronel, Assistant Professor, History, CSU, Fullerton, “History Makers in the Borderlands: Josefa Del Valle and Legacy Building in California, 1880 to 1940”
Amy Langford, Ph.D. Candidate, History, American University, “Saints on the Border: Plural Marriage and the Contest for Authority in the Mormon Colonies of Mexico, 1885 to 1915”
Erika Pérez, Assistant Professor, History, University of Arizona, “The Zamorano-Daltons and the Unevenness of U.S. Conquest in California: A Borderland Family at the Turn of the 20th Century”
Commentators: James Brooks, Professor, History & Anthropology, UCSB, & Miroslava Chávez-García, Professor, History, UCSB
Audience: Comment
3:00-3:15 pm: Concluding Remarks & Publishing Timeline
Miroslava Chávez-García, Verónica Castillo-Muñoz, & Marc Rodríguez, Editor, Pacific Historical Review


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BHIP #8: We speak to Dr. Grace Peña Delgado!

Grace Delgado (3)

Dr. Grace Peña Delgado. Photo credit: Dr. Ernesto Chávez.


It was a lovely morning drive to Santa Cruz, California to meet with and interview Dr. Grace Peña Delgado. Dr. Delgado is currently Associate Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of Making the Chinese Mexican: Global Migration, Exclusion, and Localism in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (Stanford University Press: 2012) which was distinguished as a CHOICE Academic title. Additionally, she co-authored Latino Immigrants in the United States (Polity, 2012) with Ronald Mize.

Delgado has penned several noteworthy articles including her latest piece, “Border Control and Sexual Policing: White Slavery and Prostitution along the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, 1903-1910,” in the Western Historical Quarterly which garnered several awards including the Judith Lee Ridge Award for best article in history published by a member of the Western Association of Women Historians and the Bolton-Cutter Award for best article on Spanish Borderlands history. We had a wonderful conversation about her past projects and her current and future research. Delgado discussed the significance of migration, immigration, race, gender, and sexuality in the borderlands, and about the ways in which the state as a focus of study is becoming more important as we understand the history of the making of the Mexico-U.S. and the Canada-U.S. boundary.

Delgado explained how she discovered the topic for her first book Making the Chinese Mexican. Listening to her grandparents recall the expulsion of the Chinese community out of Sonora, Mexico, Delgado realized she had no historical knowledge of this event. She saw promise in this little known topic and this transnational story became the focus of her dissertation and then her book. In the end Delgado believes her manuscript is a critique of nationalism on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. While there is a strong historical understanding of the dangers of American nativism at the turn of the twentieth century, her book shows the ways in which Mexican nationalism/nativism pushed back and forged a distinct border culture along the border of Arizona and Sonora, specifically as it related to the racialization of Chinese and Mexican communities in the region.

Her current project emerged alongside her research for her first book; as she dug through archival material that discussed the exclusion of Chinese from the United States and Mexico, she discovered documents that related to white slavery and the policing of women’s bodies along the border. While her first book revealed the layers of racial justifications for national exclusion, her current research unpacks the gendered and sexualized modes of exclusion, particularly for women. Delgado believes that a deeper and more nuanced analysis of state bureaucracy will reveal the ways in which sexuality lay at the foundation of state control along the border. She contends that the state and state formation mechanisms have been absent from the ways in which we analyze identity formation and the creation of communities along the border.

We also talked about the influence of Chicano/a and Latino/a historiography and methods in her research. Delgado made clear that her next book will reclaim borderlands history as Chicano/a history and vice versa. As borderlands scholars begin to address different questions, Delgado suggests this work has not been attributed to Chicano and Chicana historiography. She explains that as scholars we have “lost track of the contributions of Chicano historiography of 40 years past and we’ve also lost track of the way in which they’ve talked about the state and state formation on the border…” Dr. Delgado explains that her next book, focusing on prostitution, white slavery, and state formation will bring Chicano/a scholarship back in conversation with borderlands historiography and firmly place Chicano/a history back in the borderlands.

I asked Delgado about how she approaches teaching U.S. history, given her research and analysis of borderlands history. “I teach histories of American empire-building through critiques of citizenship and nationalism that also include the Mexican side of the equation,” Delgado explained. She places Chicano/a history, specifically, within a hemispheric framework and teaching through a postcolonial lens. Delgado believes that these ideas as well as her tenure in Pennsylvania inspired her to write her book Latino Immigrants in the United States in order to show linkages between Chicano/a and Latino/a scholarship and experiences in the United States. Delgado states that bridging this scholarship and translating this historical knowledge for students can help them to understand the roots of collective activism against American nativism in this country.

There is so much more we discussed, specifically in regards to state building and the management and control of bodies along the border. I recommend listening to the entirety of the interview in order to truly appreciate the scope of Delgado’s work and knowledge. I could have asked Dr. Delgado a million more questions about nativism, bureaucracies, immigration and the power of the state in the borderlands. It was a pleasure to interview her and yet again confirm the importance of borderlands history in our research and teaching.

I would like to thank Dr. Delgado for inviting me to the University of California, Santa Cruz and all the Borderlands History blog audience for tuning in to this exciting interview.

Special thanks to Marko Morales for his audio editing skills and to Mike Bess for his tech support.

Categories: Interviews, Methodology, Teaching/Professional Development | 1 Comment

BHIP#7: We Speak to Pablo Mitchell!


Where did the months go this year? The BHIP took a bit of a break since our last interview in December, but we are back and ready to meet another wonderful Borderlands scholar. It is my pleasure to introduce Pablo Mitchell to our BHIP audience. Dr. Mitchell is currently Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and is Professor of History and Comparative American studies at Oberlin College. He received his M.A. in 1995 at the University of New Mexico and his PhD in 2000 from the University of Michigan. He is the author of several books, including the award winning, and one of my personal favorites, Coyote Nation: Sexuality, Race, and Conquest in Modernizing New Mexico, 1880-1920 (University of Chicago Press, 2005) as well as West of Sex: Making Mexican America, 1900-1930 (University of Chicago Press, 2012) and his latest, a textbook titled History of Latinos: Exploring Diverse Roots (Greenwood Press, 2014). We talked about his research, his ideas about sexuality, race, gender, and the body, as well as emerging questions in Borderlands history, and teaching history.

Mitchell pointed to one of the underlying tensions he feels has driven his work in Borderlands history. He explains that while some historians continue with a Boltonian sense of the borderlands, his allegiance lies more with Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa’s theories that have provided the theoretical framework for his research. Anzaldúa’s work helped Mitchell to think about sexuality, race, gender, and borderlands and to ask different questions of archival materials and read against the grain. Continue reading

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BHIP #6: A Conversation with Dr. Maria Montoya



Join me in welcoming Dr. Maria Montoya to the BHIP as she helps us bring this fantastic year for the Borderlands History Blog to a close. I was fortunate to meet with her at the Western History Association conference in Portland, Oregon. It was a chilly morning in late October when I sat with Professor Montoya to discuss her research, teaching, and new projects. We discussed the convergence of Western and Borderlands history in her work and teaching. Dr. Montoya is currently Associate Professor of History at New York University. She received her M.A. in 1990 and her PhD in 1993 from Yale University.

Dr. Montoya has written extensively on the history of the American West and borderlands. Her first book Translating Property: The Maxwell Land Grant and the Conflict Over Land in the American West, 1840 to 1920 about the various state and capitalist forces that altered the American landscape after 1848 received excellent reviews, she has several articles and chapters in edited volumes including one with Vicki Ruiz and John Chavez, titled “Creating an American Home: Work, Gender and Space in Rockefeller’s Coal Towns.” Her second manuscript titled: Taking Care of American Workers: The Origins of Universal Healthcare in the American West 1900-1950 and a text book Global Americans: A Social and Global History of the United States are both forthcoming. We talked about what inspired her research and her teaching, and how borderlands history and methods have influenced how she engages her scholarship. Continue reading

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Notes on the UTEP Borderlands History Conference

In August 2014 the UTEP History Department decided that they wanted to host a binational/bilingual borderlands history conference to showcase the growing doctoral program given its location on the border. Heather Sinclair, a doctoral candidate in the borderlands history program, was brought on to plan and organize the event which would take place one year later in November 2015.

As the concept began to form, Chicano historian Ernesto Chávez suggested a broad theme that would help to bring scholars from both sides of the line together. While Latin Americanists have long articulated theories on the significance of the state during the colonial and national periods, U.S. historians have long danced around its significance. In the spirit of emerging histories about the state—think Margot Canaday’s The Straight State—as well as a larger discussion about the state of borderlands history, Chávez suggested the State in/of Borderlands history as the conference theme.

UTEP History faculty members formed a committee to help steer and coordinate the conference. Sam Brunk, Yolanda Leyva, Jeff Shepherd, Paul Edison, Ignacio Martinez and Heather Sinclair met over weeks and months to discuss the call for papers as well as the other activities that the conference would offer to all those attending. Over sixty proposals were received for the first annual borderlands conference, and the committee read and grouped papers in order to advance the theme of the meeting. In the end 14 papers were chosen. While there were great papers from borders around the globe, the committee wanted to focus primarily on the U.S.-Mexico line in order to highlight the location of UTEP as a border institution. Chávez recommended Kelly Lytle Hernandez (UCLA), author of MIGRA! : The History of the U.S. Border Patrol, as the keynote speaker. Her studies underscore the significance of state actors, particularly the emergence of the border patrol and also her current work on the use of incarceration on the U.S. side of the line, as foundational to the creation of the borderlands region.

DSC_0399 (2)

Putting together a conference is never easy, with support from the Graduate School and the conference committee, Sinclair balanced the logistical aspects of lodging, food, and meeting space, with questions about abstracts and paper deadlines, panel chairs and commentators, and volunteers. There were many volunteers, mostly doctoral students from the Borderlands History Program, who worked to create the poster and the program, as well as during the event. Over the course of the year committee members took on different roles in the department, Leyva ended her three years as history department chair and Brunk began his with a seamless transition. Their borderlands expertise and overall investment in the conference helped to move things forward. As the conference approached, scholars registered and program notes were fine tuned.

DSC_0407 (2)The conference was a two-day event overflowing with panels and discussions about the state. Lytle Hernandez kicked off the event with a fantastic keynote address held at UTEP’s El Paso Natural Gas Conference Center that traced our contemporary crisis of over incarceration to its origins in the borderlands. In the vein of Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow, Lytle Hernandez shifted the discussion to understand the genesis of ethnic Mexican incarceration in the United States. The Immigration Act of 1929, championed by Senator Blease, not only criminalized the migration of ethnic Mexicans into the United States, but also the incarceration of Mexicans, Lytle Hernandez argued, further racialized them as permanent foreigners in need of removal from the body politic. Using settler colonial theory that posits land acquisition—the formation and reproduction of colonizers social structures on stolen land—as the ideological framework for understanding mass incarceration of ethnic Mexicans in the early twentieth century, Lytle Hernandez discussed the creation of La Tuna, in Anthony, New Mexico and blank prison in Arizona as the first major federal prisons designed to incarcerate immigration violators along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Her passionate call for greater study of and activism against the grave crisis of migrant incarceration in the borderlands, left many graduate students feeling energized and euphoric as we celebrated Lytle Hernandez during the evening’s reception. The wine flowed and the food was plentiful as Mexican and U.S. scholars of the Borderlands were introduced or reconnected during the festivities. Students socialized with each other and waited to speak with the many prominent historians that attended the event. Mario T. Garcia, Fernando Saúl Alanís Enciso, and Cheryl Martin among others engaged with up and coming graduate students throughout the evening. Continue reading

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Conference Notes: Western History Association 2015

Photo by Ernesto Chávez

Photo by Ernesto Chávez

The Western History Association 2015 conference in Portland, Oregon was so fun and I was so busy, I barely had the opportunity to take any pictures! The 55th annual meeting was jam-packed with topics that ranged from scholars discussing twenty years of “Queering the West” to questions about the significance of the State and Transnationalism while engaging the histories of immigration, sex work, and health in the West and the Borderlands. I knew it would be a good conference when I first saw the program and was conflicted about which panels to attend. The Program Committee co-chairs, José Alamillo (California State University, Channel Islands), Lori Ann Lahlum (Minnesota State University, Mankato), and Karen Leong (Arizona State University) did an extraordinary job of organizing panels and having some of the top historians in the field as part of the conference. With that I said, I want to tell you about just a hand full of panels that I was able to attend and discuss some of the most important things I learned during my brief trip to Portland.

This year, I arrived early enough to attend all of the panels scheduled on the first day and was excited that both the “Coalition for Western Women’s History Roundtable: New Directions: Women, Gender, and the Making of Borders” and the “Presidential Plenary Session: Transnational Wests” focused on issues of gender, sexuality, race and the Borderlands. Off the bat, the discussion in the roundtable panel was vibrant, especially as they began to discuss the inroads women’s history has made into Borderlands history. Recalling Gloria Anzaldúa’s seminal work Borderlands/La Frontera: La Nueva Mestiza, scholars on the panel suggested “traditional” Borderlands history has yet to truly engage her ideas about violence, race, sexuality, and gender in the history of the region. The conversation on the panel proposed that there was a divergence between what we would think of as “traditional” Borderlands historiography and the different fields that have made interventions into it, such as Chicano/a and Latino/a studies, studies on sexuality and race, as well as women’s history. Some suggested that perhaps these rigid ways of understanding the historiography of Borderlands history is self-inflicted and must be undone by those of us who consider ourselves Borderlands historians, but use different methodologies and theories to understand the significance of the region in relation to and beyond the nation-state. Continue reading

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Borderlands History Interview Project Presents Monica Perales

Monica Perales

Monica Perales

Welcome to another installment of the Borderlands History Interview Project. We have been away too long, but we’ve been thinking about you! Today, we are offering a fantastic interview with Dr. Monica Perales, Associate Professor at the University of Houston. She received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Texas at El Paso, and went on to complete her Ph.D. in history at Stanford University. She is also the author of Smeltertown: Making and Remembering a Southwest Border Community and the forthcoming article “The ‘New Mexican Way’: The New Mexico Agricultural Extension Agency, Hispanas, and Making a Regional Cuisine,” in Meredith Abarca and Consuelo Salas, eds., Latinas/os’ Invisible and Visible Presences in the Food Systems: Changing How We Eat and Who We Are.

Continue reading

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UTEP Borderlands History Conference November 6-7, 2015–Program

2015 UTEP Borderlands History Conference
Friday, November 6, 2015
The El Paso Natural Gas Conference Center, University of Texas at El Paso

6:00 – 7:00 pm Keynote Address: “Caged Birds: Immigration and the Rise of Mexican Incarceration in the United States” Kelly Lytle Hernandez, UCLA
7:00 – 9:00 pm Reception

Saturday, November 7, 2015
Hilton Garden Inn El Paso/University

8:00-10:00am Panel 1: Borders, Bodies and the State
“Borders, Bodies and Babies: the State and Precarious Reproduction in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, 1922-1942,” Heather Sinclair, The University of Texas at El Paso
“Illegal Methods: Abortion and the State on the U.S.-Mexico Border,” Lina Murillo, The University of Texas at El Paso
“Babies, Bodies, and Borderlands: Parteras, Religion, and the State in New Mexico, 1848-1940,” Rebecca Tatum, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York
Space Outside States?: Borderlands, Statelessness, and Refugee Migrations,
Julian Lim, Arizona State University

Commentator: Monica Perales, University of Houston

10:10am-12:10pm Panel 2: State-Building in the Borderlands
“El establecimiento de la línea de presidios en el intento de definición y afirmación del Estado español en la frontera septentrional,” Alonso Domínguez Rascón, El Colegio de San Luis, A.C.
“The Union of Coahuila and Texas: A Forced Marriage and an Ugly Divorce” Jesus De la Teja, Texas State University
“Geographies of Difference: Nation, Empire and State-Brokering in Late Porfirian Chihuahua,” Jonathan Hill, City University of New York: Graduate Center
1. Jaime R. Ruiz
“Modernity, Cronyism, and Revolution: Urban Infrastructure in Chihuahua City during the Porfiriato, 1892-1911,” Jaime Ruiz, The University of Texas at El Paso

Commentator: Mario T. Garcia, University of California, Santa Barbara

12:15-1:15pm Lunch

1:20-3:20pm Panel 3: Movement, Migration, and the State
“‘Many of our countrymen who have been driven or escaped from the hands of their tormentors…have lately found their way to this City’: The Problem of Refugees in the Mexico-U.S. Borderlands,” Evan Rothera, Pennsylvania State University
“Los indios de la frontera mexicoamericana en la agenda diplomática de México y Estados Unidos, 1876 – 1878,” Viridiana Hernández Fernández
“Ernesto Galarza and Woodrow Moore: Visiones Criticas Sobre El Estado en la Coyuntura del Programa Bracero,” Diana Irina Córdoba Ramírez, El Colegio de México
“Ciudad Juárez ante la deportación de mexicanos en El Paso, Texas, 1931. Conflicto local impulsado por políticas nacionales,” Fernando Saúl Alanís Enciso, El Colegio de San Luis, A.C.
Commentator: Yolanda Leyva, The University of Texas at El Paso

3:30-5:30pm Panel 4: Challenging the State
“Sociedad sin Estado y Estado sin sociedad: cultura mexicana y bifurcación de las lealtades políticas en los dos Laredos 1848-1898,” Manuel Ceballos Ramírez, Colegio de la Frontera Norte
“Nuevas aproximaciones al estudio de la zona libre: el caso de los vinicultores en Baja California y las negociaciones con el gobierno federal mexicano (1940-1945),” Diana Lizbeth Méndez Medina, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California
“A Dreary Lot of Parasites”: A Comparative Look at Drug Smuggling, Border Enforcement, and Prohibition Rhetoric along the US-Canada and US-Mexico Borders,” Holly Karibo, Tarleton State University

Commentator: Josiah Heyman, The University of Texas at El Paso

5:30-6:00pm Response: Ignacio Martinez, The University of Texas at El Paso

7:00-9:00 pm Dinner: Café Mayapan

Registration is required.
For more information and to register, please visit:
For questions or concerns, email:

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Conference Notes: Nuestra América: Rethinking Fronteras in US History, A Conference Honoring the Career of Vicki L. Ruiz

Women’s History Month is slowly coming to a close. This month the Borderlands History Interview Project chose to focus on the career of Vicki L. Ruiz, a pioneer in women’s history of the borderlands. We were not the only ones who thought to celebrate Ruiz. The University of California, Irvine’s convocation of the Nuestra América: Rethinking Fronteras in US History, A Conference Honoring the Career of Vicki L. Ruiz sought to do just that! What follows is a brief recounting of the conference and a discussion of the influence Ruiz continues to have in the academy.

At the Nuesta América conference, Dr. Margie Brown-Coronel asked the audience “What Would Vicki Do (WWVD)?” Well, she’d do a lot. She’s the outgoing president of the Organization of American Historians and the current president of the American Historical Association. In the past Vicki Ruiz was president of the Pacific Coast Branch of the AHA, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, and the American Studies Association. What else would she do? She authored and edited over a dozen books and articles on the history of Mexican-American women and men in the United States. In 2012, she was the first Latina to be inducted into the Academy of Arts and Sciences. At the end of March, Ruiz will be celebrated by the National Women’s History Project as a Women’s History month honoree. Her scholarship would center the lives of Chicanas and Latinas in the United States history and foreground the importance of the borderlands in this larger narrative. While her career, scholarship, and service have garnered the attention of the academy for decades, her teaching and mentorship also reveal all that Vicki has done and continues to do. Continue reading

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Remembering Camille Guérin-Gonzales

“Camille Guérin-Gonzales died on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, at Agrace Hospice Care in Madison, after 14 months of living exuberantly, purposefully, and consciously with a cancer diagnosis that she never let define her…”

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