Stephanie Serrano, former Chandler Council member, dies at 65

Only a month after Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants owners celebrated 100 years in business as a family-run enterprise, the brothers and sisters are mourning the loss of one of their siblings.

Stephanie Serrano, 65, passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family on Oct. 17.

“She fought a courageous battle with breast cancer for more than six years and we are so proud of her courage and perseverance,” said Theresa Serrano Keel, vice president of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants and sister to Stephanie.

Ms. Serrano was born in Mesa to Evangeline and Ernie Serrano and graduated from Seton Catholic High School in 1972.

Stephanie grew up in the family business working at Serrano’s Department Stores that her grandparents started 100 years ago and that 40 years ago morphed into the restaurant business that now has five locations in the East Valley.

  She was co-owner of Brunchies, a popular Chandler breakfast and lunch spot, that closed in 2016 after 35 successful years.

 She also co-founded Salina’s, a Mexican restaurant just outside of St. Louis.

With a keen sense for numbers and a savvy business mind, she took on numerous leadership roles within the community, including serving as a Chandler City Council member from 1988-1992 and was a member of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce board.

 At the time of her death, she ran the payroll and accounting for all five East Valley locations.  

“Stephanie was a devout Catholic and her faith and family were the greatest treasures of her life,” the family said in a statement. “Her quiet generosity touched many people over her lifetime.”

She was preceded in death by her father Ernie Serrano Sr., mother Evangeline and a brother, Thomas.

She is survived by seven siblings: Carolyn, Ernie Jr. (Patti), Lisa Serrano Chavez (Freddie), Theresa Serrano Keel (Terry), Ric (Davonna), Lorraine, Billy (Andrea), as well as 11 nieces and nephews and a large extended family.

Visitation will be Oct. 23 from 6-8 p.m. with a rosary at 7 p.m. at Bueler Mortuary, 14 W. Hulet Drive, Chandler.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at St. Anne Roman Catholic Parish, 440 E. Elliot Road, Gilbert. A private family burial will be held at Valley of the Sun Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Americare Hospice and Palliative Care.  

Prior to her passing, Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants planned a “Pink Out” on Wed., Oct. 30, in her honor as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

 Anyone who wears pink to Serrano’s will receive a free pink fried ice cream in Stephanie’s memory.

The “Pink Out” will take place all day at all five Serrano’s locations and will now be held in her memory: 141 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler; 6440 S. Rural Road, Tempe; 1964 E. McKellips Road and 1021 S. Power Road, both Mesa; and 22703 S. Ellsworth Road, Queen Creek.

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