Los Banos residents paid tribute to a community icon May 11 at the dedication of the Los Banos Rotary’s Club memorial to Colleen Menefee.

More than 50 people came to the dedication of the memorial in front of the Los Banos Branch of the Merced County Library. The memorial includes two benches secured to a new concrete pad, a newly planted tree and a granite marker recognizing Menefee, who passed away in February 2021.

The Friends of the Los Banos Library provided refreshments at the dedication, which was held outside the library on Seventh Street in Pacheco Park, and then later moved inside.

Jerry Menefee, Colleen’s husband, said “I appreciate all that work so many have done to honor her.” Jerry was accompanied at the dedication by other members of the Menefee family.

Michael Amabile, former mayor and member of the Westside Community Foundation, said the foundation was happy to make a $2,500 donation to the memorial, which cost $5,000.

“Colleen was a member of the foundation,” he said, “and all the other members respected all that she did for the community.”

Rotarian Dick Gerbi, who helped pour and finish the cement pad, said, “It was my honor, and the honor of the entire club, to help pay tribute to Colleen, a Rotarian who was proud to serve her community.”

Menefee was a member of the Los Banos Unified School Board for 24 years, a founding member of the Los Banos Tree Commission (serving on it for more than 20 years), a founding member of the Friends of the Los Banos Library (serving for 30 years), a founding member of the Los Banos Arts Council and one of the first women to join the Los Banos Rotary Club, in 1992.

The director of the Merced County Library, Amy Taylor, said, “Colleen provided so much support to the library here in Los Banos. We can’t thank her enough.”

Rotarian Marg Benton, a close friend of Menefee, said, “I never knew a person who was so happy to help her community. She did so much for our local schools, trees, library and the arts, and she always did it with a smile.”

“I knew Colleen for decades,” said Los Banos Mayor Tom Faria. “I was continually amazed at how much she did to improve the quality of life for Los Banos residents of all ages.”

Rotarians received approvals for the installation of benches and trees from the County of Merced, especially Supervisor Scott Silveira, who represents the county’s westside, and the City of Los Banos, especially Joe Heim, the Parks and Recreation Operations Manager, who made the memorial better by approving additional trees and plants.

Ronny’s Landscaping also helped, in conjunction with the City of Los Banos and the Friends of the Los Banos Library, by redesigning the spaces to the left, right and behind the memorial with new trees, plants, large rocks and surfaces.

Family members of Colleen Menefee stand with her photo inside the Los Banos Branch of the Merced County Library after the dedication.