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'I asked him how heaven was'

Daughter of late police detective thinks of her father often and plans to honor him during her graduation.

June 06, 2013|By Lauren Williams
  • Ivey Delgadillo, 14, of Newport Beach in her cap and gown and wearing her father Mikes lanyards in his memory Thursday. Det. Delgadillo was killed March 6 when his car hit a concrete post under an overpass.
Ivey Delgadillo, 14, of Newport Beach in her cap and gown… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

When Ivy Delgadillo received an assignment in seventh grade to write about the person she most admired, her choice of subject was easy: her dad.

When she graduates from eighth grade Friday from St. Jeanne de Lestonnac School in Tustin, she will wear her father's yellow and blue detective's lanyards over her white graduation gown in tribute to a life cut short.

Her dad, Mike Delgadillo, was a veteran of the Costa Mesa Police Department for more than 30 years when he died March 6 following a single-car, off-duty crash at the age of 57.

"I think that even though he's gone, I can still feel all of his qualities in the weirdest times," she said.

Those qualities? He was brave, passionate and loving, she said, adding that her three siblings embody some of his best characteristics.

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Take older sister Sierra, 19. She has her dad's humor. Brother Noah, 16, is strong. Brother Quinton, 21, is smart.

"I'd ask my dad about the weirdest things, and he'd know the answer right away — same with Quinton," she said.

Since her father's death, Ivy, 14, has had many dreams about him.

In one, "I asked him how heaven was, and he said, 'It's going really well,'" she said.

Ivy will attend Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana in the fall and hopes to become a detective in the Costa Mesa Police Department, like her father.

"I think it's awesome. I don't know what her dad would think," CMPD Officer Mike Cohen said with a laugh. He added a moment later, "I think he'd be real proud of her."

"I think she has the same drive as her dad," said Cohen, who worked with the elder Delgadillo since 1986. "She always struck me as that kid that wants to strive for excellence and really tries hard to do that, and she got that from her dad, definitely."

Cohen will attend Ivy's graduation, and the two plan to bowl together on Father's Day.

Her mom, Desir'ee Delgadillo, said she too supports her daughter's dream of becoming a police officer.

"Ivy's decision to pursue a career in law enforcement was greeted with support and admiration," she said. "Anyone that decides to serve our community, or country, is a special human being."

When asked whether she worries about her daughter's choice to follow her father's legacy into a dangerous profession, Desir'ee Delgadillo relayed the sentiments of so many parents.

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