PETROCELLI Business & Professions
Elaine Petrocelli opened a bookstore 32 years ago, she envisioned
a place that would bring the world to Marin and vice versa. That
she has done so successfully, against the odds, is in itself a great
Elaine Petrocelli has always been the face and heart of Book Passage,
with her husband, Bill, working in the background. She announces
speakers, introduces new programs, speaks to the community, and
will recommend a string of books at the slightest request. She has
worked hard to ensure that Book Passage remains Marin’s favorite
Innovation, hard work, optimism, and community spirit are Elaine’s
trademarks. When celebrity authors visit the Bay Area, they want
to come to Book Passage. The store hosts 700 author events each
year – nearly two a day – of presidents, pundits, Nobelists,
and first time novelists. Many people come hours early or sit on
the floor, just to glimpse their favorite authors.
Book Passage classes and conferences help make it more than just
a business. Book Passage teaches everything from writing memoirs
to marketing your manuscript. The calendar is anchored each year
by the Mystery Writers Conference, the Children’s Book Conference,
and the Travel Writers Conference. With a reputation for solid content,
an engaging professional faculty, and an international base for
students, Book Passage has brought the community bookstore to a
Elaine makes sure to give back to the community. Under her guidance,
Book Passage events raise money for Hospice of Marin, Marin Community
Clinic, Buckelew Programs, Canal Community Alliance, Marin Abused
Women Services, Marin Aids Projects, Breast Cancer Action, Performing
Stars, Marin Literacy Project, Marin Education Fund, and many other
programs. Book Passage becomes a rallying-point in times of crisis.
When the literary community wanted to put on a fund-raiser on short
notice to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Book Passage
stepped in with an extraordinarily successful event.
Elaine and Book Passage are widely recognized
beyond Marin, with a newsletter reaching 40,000 people worldwide.
Other independent booksellers consider her an innovator and mentor.
Elaine has been named “Bookseller of the Year” by Publishers
Weekly and recognized as a “Woman Making History” by
the International Women’s Forum. She has received a “Creative
Achievement Award” from Mill Valley as well as an “Inspiring
the Future Award” from the Marin Education Fund. Elaine Petrocelli
has written herself into the heart of the community and the Marin
Women’s Hall of Fame.
Rebecca Orosco de Porrata was born in a barrio in Southern California.
Although her alcoholic father was frequently absent from the home
because of his work as a longshoreman, her mother was always present
to guide and encourage her, and remains her role model to this day.
Ms. Porrata studied nursing at Creedmore State Hospital School of
Nursing Adelphi University, and Sonoma State University.
She worked as a psychiatric nurse at hospitals in New York, New Jersey,
Puerto Rico and California. She also developed a practical nursing
program in New Jersey for low income and minority women. Through
the course, the women gained entry level health care job skills.
When she moved to West Marin, Ms. Porrata
became aware of the growing Hispanic population's unmet needs - the
health problems, community isolation, language barrier, and illiteracy.
As a public health nurse, she worked with the local community to integrate
that population and solve those problems. In her position as
Health Services Coordinator at the West Marin Family Center, based
at the West Marin School, she works closely with a variety of organization
to identify outreach strategies for the Hispanic community and to
assist them in identifying their own needs.
Her daughter Alexandra is a graduate
of the nursing program at Dominican College and her daughter Yolanda
currently attends San Francisco State University.
Sports & Recreation
Price" and "Trips for Kids" are rarely mentioned
separately. The terms are two sides of an equation. And Trips for
Kids (TFK) is why Marilyn has been named to the Marin Women's Hall
the past twenty years, TFK has been the focus of Marilyn's life.
She works 70 to 80 hours a week to provide at-risk children ---kids
who need it most---with the opportunity to ride mountain bikes.
Not only do the kids take bike trips supervised by caring adults,
they also learn to fix and maintain their equipment. They can even
learn bike repair and earn credits to purchase a bike for themselves.
In the process they make friends, learn skills, and discover that
exercise is fun. Less obvious are learning to set and accomplish
goals, gaining respect for the environment, and finding that dreams
are achievable---maybe a bike ride away.
native of St. Louis, Marilyn earned a B.A. in sociology from the
University of Michigan. She moved to Marin 40 years ago and has
two grown children. She has experience in non-profit management,
environmentalism, social work, and bicycle advocacy. She worked
for the Resource Renewal Institiute, developed local recycling projects,
volunteered with homeless youth, and worked at the first mountain
bike shop in Marin.
is one of Marilyn's hallmarks. By persevering she was able to succeed
in a male-dominated sport. "Sustained commitment is vital."
she says. "You have to set your sights and keep at it."
is also evident in the success of TFK. Originally a volunteer-run
program run on a hope and a dream out of Marilyn's living room,
TFK now has an office, a staff of 15, and hundreds of volunteers.
So far more than 28,000 low-income, inner city, at-risk kids across
the country have taken a ride with TFK.
Marilyn in action is to witness selfless giving. Though eager to
get on with her "to do" list, she always has time to check
in with staff and visitors to the office. She's a big reason why
Trips for Kids has caught on across the U.S.
has awards from the Marin County Human Rights Commission, the Marin
Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Girl Scouts, and the Sporting Goods
Manufacturers Association. Marilyn Price has rightly earned her
place in the Marin Women's Hall of Fame.
NAOMI REMEN, MD
Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, a 1962 graduate of Cornell Medical
School, is a visionary and medical reformer. A pioneer in the development
of Holistic and Mind/Body medicine, her life's work has successfully
legitimized and reintegrated the human spirit into contemporary medical
care and education. Dr. Remen is Clinical Professor of Family and
Community Medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine. Her courses for
medical students enable them to see beyond the disease process and
strengthen the mind, heart and spirit of their patients. Her course "The Healer's Art" was featured in US News and World Report's
Best Graduate Schools 2002 to illustrate the future of medical education
and is now taught at 33 medical schools.
Under her guidance as Founder and Director of the
Institute for the Study of Health and Illness at Commonweal, thousands
of physicians and medical educators have studied the principles and
practices of a medicine of healing. Her programs for graduate physicians
have helped doctors recover from the wounding of their training and
reclaim their commitment to the heart and soul of medicine.
As a clinician for 20 years, Dr. Remen worked with
people with cancer and their families and practiced in Marin County.
In 1986 she became co-founder and medical director of the Commonweal
Cancer Help Program in Bolinas, featured by Bill Moyers in his PBS
series "Healing and the Mind." She was among the first to recognize
the psychological and spiritual impact of cancer on people and their
families and develop innovative methods to mobilize the healing power
of every individual in recovering their personal wholeness.
Remen has a 52-year personal history of Crohn's disease and her work
uniquely blends the viewpoints of physician and patient. A master
storyteller and speaker, over the past thirty years she has spoken
to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country, reminding
them of their courage, the importance and healing power of their stories
and their ability to make a difference.
Remen wrote The Human Patient
(Doubleday 1981), one of the earliest books on the medicine of the
whole person. She is the best-selling author of Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal and My Grandfather's Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge and Belonging.
Her books have been translated into 18 languages and are textbooks
in many nursing and medical schools here and abroad. Dr. Remen has
spoken at many medical school graduations and holds three honorary
Maria Saez de Ibarra was a feminist before the word became a movement.
One of a handful of women in the 1940s and 1950s to attend law school
in Cuba, Daisy worked as a lawyer and social worker in her native
country. In those days, such jobs always belonged to men.
She and her husband Octavio found conditions
in Communist Cuba growing intolerable. In 1960 they left their homeland
in search of freedom and a new life. After settling in Marin, Daisy
never returned to her beloved Cuba again.
keen intelligence, boundless generosity, and personal and professional
integrity helped her adjust to her new home. Eager to help other
immigrants adjust, Daisy co-found La Familia Center, a place where
Spanish speaking people could find jobs, learn English, and find
housing. Although her title was “Trabajadora Social”
(social worker), she was much more. She was the “go-to”
person who connected people to services and resources, helped them
solve problems, and encouraged them with the words, “Si, se
puede!” (yes, you can).
training in the law had sharpened Daisy’s sense of injustice.
She recognized exploitation when she saw it and was quick to help
people seek legal assistance and redress. Because of her own traumatic
experience as a newcomer, Daisy knew that celebrating traditional
cultural events was a good way to help immigrants forge a new community.
She encouraged these celebrations, and this legendary cook would
bring her famous Cuban flan to every event.
leaving La Familia, Daisy saw the need for another place to serve
the growing Hispanic community. She encouraged Marta Martinez to
start the Multicultural Program at Whistlestop. Today the program
thrives, with three fulltime employees providing seniors with language
programs, referral and translation services, ESL and citizenship
classes, and more.
final career stop for Daisy was the Marin Department of Health and
Human Services. For 14 years she helped Spanish-speakers work through
legal regulations to determine if they qualified for Medical, food
stamps, or cash benefits.
was a fully realized human being, a woman of integrity and action.
Cuba was always in her heart, while she worked tirelessly to provide
friendship and assistance to others trying to adjust to a new home.
Daisy and her legacy of service to her community will not be forgotten.
Santana is a true Renaissance woman. To say she’s an author,
business woman, wife, mother, and philanthropist is to scratch the
surface. Perhaps the best way to understand this woman is to look
at her memoir, "Space Between the Stars - My Journey to an Open Heart". With grace and wisdom, she
explores issues of faith, spirituality, race, sexuality, love, marriage,
motherhood and womanhood. Through writing, Deborah shares her ongoing
quest to believe in and express her best self—and, in doing
so, to love and serve humanity.
in San Francisco in the 1950s, Deborah grew up in a culture in profound
transition. Her father, a pioneering African-American blues guitarist
and singer, and her mother, an independent Irish/British-American
career woman, married before interracial unions were legal in many
states—and at a time when wives were not expected to work outside
the home. They created a colorblind household where all dreams were
possible. The speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the songs of
Mahalia Jackson helped form Deborah’s sense of equality and
Ms. Santana emerged as a successful entrepreneur in the early ’70s.
At the age of twenty-two, she owned and managed a thriving vegetarian
restaurant in the heart of San Francisco. She met musician Carlos
Santana at a concert at the Marin Civic Center. They married in 1973
and have three children together. In 1994, the couple assumed management
of the Santana Band.
In 1998, the Santanas established the Milagro Foundation, a nonprofit
organization serving children and youth in the areas of health, education
and the arts. The Milagro Foundation –milagro meaning miracle
– has made hundreds of grants to underserved and underprivileged
children and youth in 30 states and 35 countries, with a focus on
agencies in Marin County.
accomplishments have been widely recognized. In 2000, Ms. Santana
received the UCLA César E. Chávez Spirit Award in recognition
of her philanthropic work. In 2004, she received a Women of Distinction
Award from Soroptimist International for her outstanding achievements
in business and leadership. 2004: She and Carlos were recognized by
YOUTHAIDS for their efforts battling the AIDS pandemic in Africa.
In 2006 Deborah received one of the Marin Human Rights Commission’s
Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Awards.
Deborah Santana was inducted into the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007, a year when she also received the Mills College Distinguished Achievement Award. She has received the following recognitions: 2010-Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy Catalyst Award, 2012-Women's eNews 21 Leaders for the 21st Century Award.
Other recognitions include: Board Member, Artists for a New South Africa (ANSA), Los Angeles; Board Member, Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), San Francisco; Founding Donor, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.
Her Anthology Contributions: 2012 - Life Moments for Women, 2012 - Nothing But the Truth, So Help Me God, 2006 - Tutu, As I Know Him: On a Personal Note.
Documentaries Produced: 2012 - School of My Dreams, 2010 - Girls of Daraja, 2006 - Road to Ingwavuma.
HON. BEVERLY BLOCH SAVITT
Business & Professions
In 1983, Judge Savitt became the first woman to serve on the Marin
County Superior Court bench. She earned her law degree at Bolt
Hall School of Law at U.C. Berkeley. She and two other attorneys
formed the first all-female law firm in the country. She was
the eighth woman to join the Marin County Bar Association and the
second to serve as its President. She has generously contributed
her time and energy to the education of lawyers and judges, particularly
in the area of family law. She has been the founding member
of many important organizations whose central purpose is to empower
women and ensure that their voices are heard: the California
Women Lawyers, the Marin Chapter of the National Women's Political
Caucus of Marin, and the Center for Families in Transition.
In the 1970's she was active with the Marin
County Chapter of the League of Women Voters when she analyzed and
made recommendations for improving the juvenile court system in Marin.
She also served as Vice Chair of the Juvenile Justice Commission.
While serving on the Marin Council for Civic
Affairs, Judge Savitt recommended reforming the grand jury selection
system and developed a questionnaire for the court which is still
in use. She has been instrumental in planning and implementing
many changes to improve the quality of justice in Marin County --
including initiating a new way to handle family law matters and promoting
alternative dispute resolution. In 1983 she was honored with
the Women Making History award. Although she retired from the
bench in 1995, Judge Savitt still serves as a private judge.
FU NANCY SCHROEDER
Schroeder is a Buddhist priest, a teacher, an activist, an innovator,
an organizer, and a visionary. She is a mother, a mentor, a friend.
Ordained in 1986, Fu has been part of the San Francisco Zen Center
for 30 years. She serves as Director at Green Gulch Farm, and as
president of the Marin Interfaith Council. But these words don’t
reveal the person, or show why Fu has been nominated to the Marin
Women’s Hall of Fame.
Green Gulch Fu has worked towards positive change, for ways to bring
Buddhism to the greater community. She developed a Work Practice
Apprenticeship program that enables people on limited income to
participate in life at Green Gulch. She initiated a Three Week Intensive
Medication Period that enables staff to use quieter times at the
center to renew their personal spiritual practice. She established
a Coming of Age program that offers teens a year in which they examine
issues of maturity, responsibility, and service while exploring
meditation and self expression.
Fu has helped make Green Gulch a place that
welcomes diversity. She has helped make the center more accessible
to people with disabilities. She has led retreats designed to present
Buddhist teachings in a safe environment for the LGTBQQ community.
She has served on the Diversity and Multiculturalism committee at
the center and Marin Horizon School, which her daughter attends.
also initiated a unique cultural exchange program with members of
the Little Singer Community School on Navajo land. One summer several
Navajos visited Green Gulch, and the next Fu led a group to the
Navajo lands in the Four Corners. Among the contingent was Fu’s
African American daughter who has physical challenges. This trip
gave Fu the chance to practice plenty of patience, compassion, leadership,
and love, day to day. The impact of this cultural exchange on all
the participants cannot be measured.
a Buddhist priest, Rev. Fu bears witness to the importance of women
as leaders in religion. Through her work, she creates a peaceful
space for people to come together in the spirit of harmony and understanding.
When she was ordained, candidate Nancy Schroeder received a “dharma”
name meant to express some of her unique qualities. The name she
was given, “Furyu Doshin,” translates from the Japanese
as “Wind and Stream, Way Seeking Heart.” This name clearly
captures the qualities Fu manifests.
Vera Schultz was a trailblazer for Marin County women's involvement
in politics. During her lifetime, she was a living demonstration
that women can make a constructive contribution to society.
She was first elected to the Mill Valley City Council. Within
a few years, she became the first woman ever elected to the Marin
County Board of Supervisors. She distinguished herself quickly,
pushing for the professionalization of services offered by the county
government. She was instrumental in the creation of the County
Administrator, Public Works Commissioner and County Counsel positions
and she actively supported the establishment of a County Personnel
Commission. She served on the ad hoc committee that formed the
Marin Women's Commission. She was selected as a director of
the California State Supervisors Association, again one of the first
women to serve in that role. Ms. Schultz was also active in
the Marin leadership of the League of Women Voters and was involved
with the creation of Marin General Hospital.
For all of her numerous contributions to
Marin, Vera Schultz, is best remembered for her leadership in obtaining
the services of world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design
the Marin County Civic Center. Through numerous obstacles, Ms.
Schultz' enthusiasm and drive kept the construction on track.
The Civic Center is a landmark building that is now visited by lovers
of architecture from around the world. It is this legacy to
Marin of which Vera Schultz was most proud.
Read the extended biography by Ms Sally Hauser
Born in Neptune New Jersey, Maureen was the 10th
of 12 children. When she was young, her family moved to Southern California,
where she attended school. As a child, Maureen had a brief modeling career–her
claim to fame was being featured as one of the Northern Tissue girls. In her
teenage years, Maureen showed early entrepreneurial promise, from bagging and
selling sand to tourists in Newport Beach, to walking the sands of Santa Monica
selling popsicles from a cooler. While a student at California State
University, Chico, Maureen worked in leadership at the Residence Halls, Student
Activities and New Student Orientation. Moving to Marin after College, Maureen
worked at The Alcoholism Council of Marin, Centerpoint, and The California
Health Research Foundation.
Maureen has built her career ensuring that young people have a strong voice in
public policy and community leadership. She
is nationally and internationally recognized as a leading authority in the
fields of Youth Philanthropy, Leadership and Development. She had a dream of
starting a non-profit organization before the age of 30.
1989, inspired by three Marin County teenagers who helped envision an
organization that truly put young people at the center, Maureen founded the
Youth Leadership Institute (YLI). After incubating for a few years with
support, coaching and guidance from Dr. Andy Mecca of the California Health
Research Foundation, YLI became incorporated in 1991.
Maureen was the youngest professional recipient of the National Association of
Alcohol & Drug Administrator’s Career Achievement Prevention Award. The
award recognized her national leadership and innovation in the field, and
championed the merits of her work here in Marin as a model for communities
around the country.
Maureen has navigated the waters of numerous institutions and systems,
and knows well that achieving community change means doing the difficult and
time-intensive work of building coalitions, cultivating allies and identifying
clear objectives—all while having the political savvy, sharp intelligence and
flexibility to adapt these objectives to the changing dynamics of the community.
Beyond her commitments at YLI, Maureen served as Chairperson
of the California Youth Development Collaborative, and has Chaired numerous
Boards, National Task Forces and Commissions on Health, Education and Youth
Leadership. An early pioneer in Youth Philanthropy, Maureen started a program
in Marin that became a model for many community foundations across the U.S.
In 1996, she started a social enterprise at YLI providing
research, training and technical assistance across the U.S. to replicate many
of YLI’s model programs and strategies. In 2003, the Youth Council Model,
designed by Maureen, received the National Exemplary Program Award from the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMSHA).
Maureen is active nationally as a speaker, writer and
advocate for the role of young people in public policy, social and community
change. She has taught university courses, published numerous articles and
contributed to several books. She received the State of California Governor’s
Award of Recognition for developing programs that empower young people, a
Congressional Award of Innovation for her youth leadership work and in 1996,
received an Exemplary Leadership Award from the Office of the President of the
In 2009, she received the California Friday Night Live
Leadership Legacy Award. She has testified before the US Congress, the
California Legislature and multiple County Boards and Commissions. In 2008, Maureen was selected by the Center for Volunteer
and Non Profit Leadership for the Excellence in Leadership Award. In 2009, She presented testimony and training to the
Parliament of New Zealand and traveled the country speaking and providing
training and strategy work with the Ministry of Youth Development and over 25
She is a Board Member for the Bay Area Chapter of the Social
Enterprise Alliance and The Center for Volunteer and Non Profit Leadership. A
graduate of Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit
Management, she and holds an MBA in Strategic Leadership from Dominican
University of California.
Maureen is the proud parent of three amazing and talented
young people, Kaitlin, Kara and Conor Ketchum. Dynamic and fearless, she is as
likely to regale you with funny, endearing and bold stories and insights, as
she is to inspire you to take chances, challenge the status quo, and improve
communities through hard work. Maureen has spent her life as a risk taker, as
someone who has never been afraid to speak truth to power with humor, passion
and a commitment to join together and work hard to create lasting and transformative
change. She looks forward to continuing her inspiring and rewarding work.
Ethel Seiderman is nationally recognized for her creative approaches
to childcare and family, establishing cooperative nursery schools
tied to parent education programs. Growing up in the Bronx during
the Depression years, and educated at Brooklyn College during the
McCarthy era, Ms. Seiderman worked in the settlement movement, first
at the Henry Street Settlement House in the lower east side of Manhattan
and later at the Roxbury Neighborhood Center in Boston.
Under the auspices of San Francisco State University she directed
the nurseries in the Cross Cultural Education programs providing experiences
to children and opportunities to parents in order to build a greater
sense of community and communications across diverse populations.
She established and directed one of the first infant care programs
in the state, the Florence Crittendon Infant Center, geared to providing
quality childcare to teenage mothers while they finished school.
In 1973, she founded the Fairfax-San Anselmo
Children's Center which has served as a model for other programs throughout
the nation. The Center consists of the infant-toddler program,
pre-school and after-school programs, and the "Get Well Room."
Her exemplary Parents Service Project provides workshops, support
groups, respite care, and family events, all of which contribute to
enhance the leadership and sense of competency of low income
families from diverse backgrounds.
A long time consumer activist, as founder of TURN (Toward Utility
Rate Normalization) in 1973, Sylvia Siegel became the main protagonist
and protector of all utility paying consumers. After finding
that no one was really challenging the utilities companies, Ms.
Siegel became a self-taught expert of complicated utility law.
Ms. Siegel's work led to the utility industry
changing its rate structure to eliminate a discount for increased
usage - so that it now supports reduced use. Her efforts also
helped to mandate a "lifeline rate" - a minimum amount
of gas and electric made available at reasonable rates for those
who needed it most - the segment of the population on fixed incomes.
She utilized her ability to interpret complicated
data and communicate the findings into the "everyday language
that consumers can understand," and make it "juicy"
enough so that people would listen. Among some 250 consumer
advocates in California, Ms. Siegel became the most visible and
viable advocate in the state. Upon her retirement from TURN,
she was hired by the Marin County Board of Supervisors to represent
the interest of the consumers of Marin with Viacom Cable.
She went on to organize a statewide group called Consumers Cable
Recently elected to the Marin Health Care
District Board, Ms. Siegel continues to be an active advocate
and voice of the consumer, and serving her second term on the Board
Read Sylvia Siegel's extended biography
Gloria's work and focus are from three sources: love and respect for children; an understanding of the profound benefits of art and play as healing tools; a belief that everyone has something of value to contribute and that everyone needs opportunities to give back.
At thirteen, she became a child advocate, as a volunteer in a NYC pediatric hospital where she painted with critically ill children. After high school she traveled and founded three small schools for children in Spain, Holland and Peru. Using art she followed her lifelong dreams and passion and created a unique way for children to cope and to begin healing.
Gloria received a B.F.A. from The Cooper Union in New York City and an M.A. in counseling psychology and an honorary M.A. degree in expressive art therapy from The California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. In 1980 she moved to the Bay Area. In 1981, she began therapeutic art programs at two San Francisco hospitals; California Pacific Medical Center/University of California, and San Francisco’s Moffitt Hospital. At the Children’s Cancer Research Institute, she created an arts program to help children cope and express themselves. "The children," she remembers, "taught me to listen and to sit with pain."
In1989, she founded the DrawBridge Foundation: An Arts Program for Homeless Children, in the canal district of San Rafael. It has served over 10,000 children in family shelters: providing safety, stability and respect for homeless children offering art, collage, role-playing and other artistic methods.
DrawBridge also has 30 sites in seven bay area counties. As one of the earliest and most successful programs for the homeless population of Marin, DrawBridge has become a model for other states and also established international partnerships with groups in Afghanistan, Palestine, India and Mexico. Over the past ten years, Gloria offered training in working with children in crisis in Europe and Africa, with a focus on children affected by HIV/AIDS.
Gloria Simoneaux was founder, fund-raiser and Executive Director of Drawbridge for nineteen years. She recently started a new organization, Harambee Arts, which partners with African grassroots programs to train local caregivers to provide art programs for vulnerable children in an environment that fosters their sense of joy, creativity and exuberance. Harambee, a Swahili word for "Let’s Pull Together" sums up Gloria’s desires for helping children.
Gloria’s vision and perseverance have raised social consciousness and advanced human rights throughout the world. Her work has empowered others, especially children. In 2008 Gloria was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to lecture and do research at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, for a year.
The Hall of Fame honors Gloria in Social Change, for her continued dedication to help homeless children.
Ruth Sluser's 35-year teaching career has encompassed serving "at
risk" and special education students and administering programs
for teenage mothers. Devoting herself to helping those with
special needs help themselves, she has made a practical difference
in the lives of many young women. She has provided the vision
to see a high-risk person as a successful graduate and member of
the work force. She has inspired her charges to find appropriate
career paths and remain goal-oriented, despite the many obstacles
Through the Cal Learn program, Sluser provides
guidance to teenage mothers and pregnant teens who are attempting
to complete their high school education and enroll in vocational
programs designed for economic independence. She mentors at
least a dozen girls at any given time, seeing each one at least
weekly. She arranges parenting classes, nutrition workshops,
counseling sessions and transportation. She celebrates their
success and teaches them how to solve adult problems with patience.
She is remembered by one of her students as "the first adult
who really listened to me and helped me feel I was worth something."
Many of the young women she has helped stay in touch and seek her
counsel, wisdom and wit. She attributes her success to her
mother who returned to work to provide the financial support
for Sluser to complete both B.S. and M.S. degrees at the University
of Illinois. Retired from teaching, she continues to administer
the Cal Learn program and serve the needs of young women, offering
tough love, guidance and support.
Read the extended biography by Wendy Norwood
In the 1940's, Annette Klang Smail began her career as a social reformer
by working for the Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.) in Chicago.
Long an advocate of solutions to economic problems, she has lobbied
at the local, state and national levels against poverty, racism and
gender discrimination. Ms. Smail spearheaded the grassroots
efforts to have a bill passed in Congress to extend medical and pension
benefits to divorced wives of men who had been in the military twenty
years or more, overturning a Supreme Court case denying those benefits.
Ms. Smail was co-founder of the Novato Human
Needs Center and served on its board for seven years. In 1980,
she was selected as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging,
and in 1984, she was a member of the California Task Force on the
Feminization of Poverty. She was the founder of the Older Women's
Political Caucus and served as its President from 1977 until 1995.
Annette has long been a leader in the movement for gender equality
on government commissions, and was instrumental in the creation in
1996 of the President's Interagency Council on Women. This Council
is designed to identify and eliminate laws and policies that hinder
the lives of women. The recipient of the 1994 Eleanor Roosevelt
Women of Vision Award, Annette has actively supported a Marin Abused
Women's Services program to address the problem of domestic violence.
Read Annette Smail's extended biorgraphy
Marilyn Smith's middle name must
be "Music." She arrived in the Bay Area from Kansas (just like Dorothy)
in 1957, with a degree in Music Education from Kansas University.
Typical of the time, Marilyn placed her career on hold while she
and her husband Bob raised five children, who all attended Mill
Valley Public Schools.
Marilyn became involved with the
music program at Old Mill School. Before she knew it, was producing
musicals for Steve Riffkin, then a student teacher. Concurrently,
she produced outdoor concerts for the Marin Symphony and the Children's
Fun Concerts with Hugo Rinaldi at the Veteran's Auditorium at the
Civic Center. In 1976, with funding from Mill Valley, Marilyn produced
Steve Riffkin's original Bicentennial Suite and presented it in
the Headlands. This production involved setting up a shuttle
bus system, which led to her next adventure.
The Board of the Mountain Play found
itself without a production staff; they had filled in the 1976 program
with a free band concert and picnic. They discovered they needed
a shuttle bus system to get crowds on and off the mountain, so they
asked Marilyn to produce the next year's play, mainly because she
had busing experience. Marilyn's first Mountain Play (1977) was "Clothes," a musical written by George Leonard and Susan Trott,
with original music by Steve Riffkin. A takeoff on "The Emperors
New Clothes," the play was an instant hit. With "Clothes" the Mountain
Play discovered that Marin audiences love musical theater.
the next three years, Marilyn continued as a volunteer producer
of the event. She brought in Martin Frick, Michelle Swanson and
Ben Dickson as Artistic Directors. In 1981, James Dunn, then
head of the Drama Department at the College of Marin, came on board,
bringing access to an enthusiastic talent pool from the College.
Dunn added "surprise" elements to almost every production. But Marilyn
would be the one who scouted and located the "special effects" requested
by Dunn. The effects ran the gamut from a World War II airplane,
to a cow, a horse-drawn carriage, a motorcycle, even Cuban dancers; effects that gave the productions authenticity.
For the last
quarter century musicals have continued to thrill Mountain Play
audiences. Marilyn continued as Executive Director until retiring
in 1999, her 23rd year with the organization. Today the Mountain
Play, in its 92nd season, is thriving. This wouldn't
have happened without Marilyn Smith.
REV. JANIE ADAMS SPAHR
The Rev. Spahr first began serving people in Marin in 1975 as Associate
Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in San Rafael. In 1979
she was forced to resign as Executive Director of the Oakland Council
of Presbyterian Churches when she "came out" as a lesbian.
She founded and served as Executive Director of Spectrum Center for
Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns (Formerly Ministry of Light).
Since 1980 Spectrum has been the only social service agency serving
the needs of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Marin County by starting
such programs as the Marin Aids Project, Marin Chapter for Parents
and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Rainbows End Youth Program, Lesbian/Gay
Parents Group, AIDS Interfaith of Marin, New Horizons and Women's
In December, 1991, the Downtown United Presbyterian
Church in Rochester, New York chose the Rev. Spahr to be one of their
four co-pastors. Eleven months and two Presbyterian court battles
later, the Rev. Spahr was denied permission to act as pastor due to
her sexual orientation. In spite of this setback, the Rev. Spahr
was chosen as the first nationwide lesbian Presbyterian Evangelist
educator. She has and will continue to encourage and strengthen
thousands of people who share her hopes and dreams for the just treatment
of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in our community
and throughout the country.
Starkweather has worked for many years to preserve the beauty and
natural features of Marin County. One person has commented that
"Anytime there is a public hearing on an issue that will affect
the environment, Jean Starkweather is present, both with information
and a readiness to take action."
Ms. Starkweather has worked on preservation
and restoration of wetland habitats. She has taught classes
and led fieldtrips for children and adults to further their knowledge
and enjoyment of the natural environment. Acting on her firm
belief that the natural resources are valuable community resources,
and that people must work to protect them, she insists "the quality
of the community is dependent on the people getting involved in it".
Among her many civic activities, Ms. Starkweather
has been President of Marin Audubon and the Marin Conservation League.
She is a long term docent and board member of Audubon Canyon Ranch.
As a member of the Marin County Parks, Open Space and Cultural Commission,
she served as Commission Chair for two years, and works on issues
in county parks and open space, and on the extension of bicycle paths
and routes throughout the county.
Ms. Starkweather is the recipient of the
1979 Environmental Award from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in
recognition of her outstanding environmental contributions to the
continues to serve on the MCL Board of Directors and is active on
several committees. She served as MCL President from 1993-95
and received the Marin Green Award from MCL in 1998. Jean is
particularly known for her knowledge of San Rafael shoreline ecology,
her habitat restoration work in that area and her suggestions regarding
San Francisco Bay Trail design.
Read Jean Starkweather's extended biography
Frances Steadman's selection for the 1998 Marin Women's Hall of Fame
is an appropriate tribute to her courage and leadership in the cause
of peace and justice. Born to Quaker parents with strong convictions,
Steadman grew up with a commitment to oppose all warfare and to disallow
discrimination against people of other races. For more than
three decades, Stedman has risked her own welfare and freedom on behalf
of disenfranchised peoples in this country and around the world.
She has immersed herself in social issues such as civil rights, nuclear
war, prison reform, homelessness, human rights and environmental degradation.
Her selfless dedication to others is truly inspiring.
In the early sixties, Steadman traveled into
the South to support black suffrage and to register black voters.
She was also a vocal supporter of the nuclear disarmament movement,
and withstood a jail sentence for protesting against nuclear weapons.
At some risk to her own life and health, she has spearheaded the collection
and distribution of material aid to people in Guatemala, Nicaragua,
El Salvador and Chiapas.
Steadman has been a longtime chair of the
Social Concerns Committee of the Marin Unitarian Fellowship, and a
leading spirit of the Marin Gray Panthers. She has been an activist
with the Marin Advocates for Justice and a board member of the Marin
Interfaith Task Force, as well as a member of the Marin Welfare and
Immigration Network (Marin WIN). She has organized the peace
and social justice contingent of the Corte Madera Fourth of July Parade
for the past two decades. Despite all of this activity, she
finds time on a weekly basis to lead the singing at a local senior
day care center.
Frances Steadman has demonstrated the tremendous
energy, organizing ability, charm and goodwill that women can bring
to causes that serve not only the needy, but also society. She
is an exemplary role model for her family, her friends, and her community.
Read the extended biography by Rita Gardner
TIRZA LOTTE STRAUS
Tirza Lotte Straus is a rancher and an environmentalist who has dedicated
her life to preserving a viable agricultural community in West Marin.
She is credited with building a bridge between Marin's dairy ranchers
and its environmentalists. She co-founded the Marin Agricultural
Land Trust (MALT), the first agricultural land trust in the nation
and a model for protecting agricultural lands. Almost alone
among the ranchers, she and her husband supported the creation of
the Point Reyes National Seashore, opposed high-density in the West
Marin General Plan, and supported A-60 zoning. Mrs. Straus and
her family have been dairy ranchers for more than fifty years, providing
a model for environmental awareness within the farming community.
Since 1960, she has opened the ranch to students and others to teach
about agricultural life. Her family recently transformed their
dairy into an organic operation, the first one west of the Mississippi.
She helped conceive and produce "Farming
on the Edge" by John Hart, the story of agricultural land preservation
in Marin. She holds a B.A. in Natural Science and Mathematics
from Bard College in New York. She is on the board of the Greenbelt
Alliance, the Tomales Bay Advisory Committee, and the Rural Land Use
Committee of the Marin Conservation League, and is a member of the
West Marin Growers Group. She has also served on the environmental
Action Committee of West Marin, the Environmental Forum of Marin and
the Community Partnership Committee of the Marin Community Foundation.
She is an artist and a former member of Artisans Gallery.
Read the extended biography by Barbara Euser