Cover photo for Celia “Salli” Cruz Sterrett's Obituary
Celia “Salli” Cruz Sterrett Profile Photo
1949 Celia “Salli” 2022

Celia “Salli” Cruz Sterrett

June 1, 1949 — May 22, 2022

Lifelong Verde Valley resident Celia Cruz “Salli” (Pareja) Sterrett was called home to Jesus in the moments just after sunrise on Sunday, May 22, 2022 at her family home in Camp Verde, Arizona.  She is survived by her devoted husband and caregiver, Dennis Sterrett; daughter Sheilah-Margaret (John) Pothast; twin sons Michael (Meredith) Sterrett and Matthew (Stephanie) Sterrett; and her adopted sister Doris.

Salli also leaves behind her treasured grandchildren Hannah & John-Mark, Shayna, Casey & Cutter, Garrett & Jamie and their families, her beloved great-grandchildren, numerous nieces & nephews, as well as many extended family members, dear friends & “family by choice” that she loved with great affection.

Salli is predeceased by her parents Minnie (Macias) & Ben Pareja, Sr. as well by her beloved brothers Michael Pareja, Felix Pareja & Ben Pareja, Jr. 

Funeral services will be held this Saturday, May 28, 2022 at 10am at Immaculate Conception Parish located in Cottonwood, AZ.  Graveside services will follow at the Azteca Cemetery located within the Cottonwood Cemetery.

Salli was born on June 1st, 1949 in Cottonwood, AZ and attended Cottonwood schools, graduating from Mingus Union High School in 1967. She loved telling stories about her time in the old high school building in Jerome, silly antics in McClarney’s class & playing pool at the old Spirit Room. “Shotgun Salli” earned her nickname speaking her mind, a trait that sometimes got her in trouble but ensured she never backed down from calling out injustice as she saw it.

Salli worked at the Verde Floral for years, comforting people in times of loss & celebrating in times of joy. She was a top notch shop manager as well as a dynamic floral artist & a creative spirit, taking much joy in crafting until her health limitations made it difficult to continue. Salli worked and volunteered for Camp Verde schools as a coach for years and briefly as part of the office staff, touching the lives of many young people along the way. She was Coach Sterrett’s right hand, shaping and growing the Camp Verde wrestling program right alongside husband Dennis, leaving a lasting legacy of sportsmanship, commitment, care and inspiration both locally and around the state. 

Salli was a devout Catholic and parishioner at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church. She lived a life of service volunteering with St. Vincent de Paul, as well as sharing her energy ringing bells for Salvation Army, collecting turkeys and supporting many other causes including veterans organizations, Relay for Life, Wounded Warriors and the church assistance program. 

Salli’s greatest joy was family and she loved her people deeply. She showered love and devotion on her children and their spouses who grieve her passing with heavy hearts. She was the best mom, fiercely loyal, with an unending capacity for forgiveness and love. She adored her grandchildren and took great pride in their accomplishments.  She was “Nani” to so many, much loved for her generosity, kind heart, giving spirit, and sweet smile. 

Despite decades of serious health issues, she persevered. Always focusing on what she COULD do, she found ways to be of service whether she was home bound or in her wheelchair dragging an oxygen tank. She wrote thousands of cards, celebrating others on their birthdays or anniversaries, and lifting people up during times of trouble. She knew no strangers and would welcome anyone back to the house for a visit or a meal. She lived her faith daily in her words and actions, being the hands and feet of Jesus as she volunteered, inspired and loved others. 

To honor our “miracle mama” - please consider donating to St. Vincent de Paul or your local Salvation Army.

Condolences may be sent to the family at: PO Box 1537 Camp Verde, AZ 86322

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Celia “Salli” Cruz Sterrett, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

700 North Bill Gray Road, Cottonwood, AZ 86326

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