JEAN A. TAYLOR
For the better part of 30-years Jean has voraciously tackled mounting
social crisis that many find too daunting to even acknowledge. The
courage and tenacity she has shown confronting homelessness, suicides
& court corruption in Marin has had rippling and lasting effects.
In 1989 Jean began to take notice that Homelessness was on a fast
rise, its evidence being seen in more places with more frequency. She
began talking publicly about what she was seeing and was approached by a
Marin County Supervisor to serve on the newly formed Commission on
Jean went on a quest to understand the reasons for homelessness and to develop long term solutions.
Over the next 6-years, Jean’s passion to educate our community would
lead her to Chair the Commission on Homelessness; head both the San
Rafael and Novato Task Forces; serve on the board of St. Vincent
DePaul’s dining room and ultimately found the New Beginnings Fund for
Homeless and serve as it’s president. She took a look at other major
city approaches to homelessness and attended national conventions on the
issue, applying what she learned here in Marin.
In 1996, Jean co-chaired a capital campaign raising $3.3 million for
an 80-bed residential/job training center, a project providing permanent
She convinced the IJ to become a media partner in the campaign
leading to 60-articles on homelessness. As a result, readers
contributed approximately half a million dollars toward the new center.
On opening day more than 2-thousand people visited the New Beginnings
Center. It was the first homeless facility built on a decommissioned
military base and now serves as a national model.
In 2001 Jean co-chaired The Next Key capital campaign, an addition to
New Beginnings campus. 32-units of affordable housing, a large
culinary academy and a public venue room designed to make the entire
facility financially self-sufficient. The facility went up in 2008 with
the full support of the police chief, city council and bordering
Jean’s 30-years of reforming Marin’s approach to social issues are of
lasting significance. She is recognized throughout Marin as a leading
advocate, the one to turn to for sweeping change, even dubbed a “Tipping
Point” because of her ability to bring consensus and to motivate
Prior to the aforementioned, she used those attributes in the area of
suicide prevention, volunteering on the 24/7 crisis hotline and
becoming a member of the Coroner’s Psychological Autopsy Team and still
serves on the Suicide Prevention Advisory Board.
For 7-years she served as board member for Senior Access, helping
restructure and increase programs and facilities to provide safe, clean
and fulfilling day care services for frail and ill older adults.
Jean also spent 5-years on the board of the Marin Political Action
Committee. In the initial stages of the AIDS epidemic, she helped
develop a “Report Card” for local and state politicians making their
voting records on such matters public.
Currently, the Board President of the Helen Vine Detox Center, she
first raised $250,000 to remodel the center, increasing public beds
from 12 to 26. This board has encouraged the development of
compassionate and successful programs designed to aid in their permanent
An appreciation and love of the arts led to her involvement on the
boards of the Marin Arts Council and Alter Theater and she put
emphasized putting the spotlight on the diversity, variety and talent of
the artists in our midst.
Jean’s current focus is on encouraging judicial excellence in the
court systems throughout California. She is the president and
co-founder of the Center for Judicial Excellence. CJE is working with
state, local and national leaders to facilitate necessary changes.
In all the above commitments, Jean stressed educating the public
and/or the clients. Developing an awareness, an acceptance and a
compassionate response for those dealing with the aforementioned
critical problems has been her goal.
Jean , her husband Ray, son Jeff, and daughter Stephanie moved to
Marin in 1963. Their lives have been enriched by the addition of
daughter-in-law, Amy, son-in-law, Bill Boland, and four grandsons,
Dominic, Cameron, Scott, and Joshua.
Jean’s education includes a B.A. in History, Magna Cum Laude, a B.E.
in Education, University of Cincinnati, and a M.A. in Psychology,
Deva Taylor, Ph.D., a native of India, has been Executive Director
of Center Point, Inc. a private substance-abuse facility in Marin,
since 1981.Center Point provides long-term adult residential and
outpatient services, adolescent services, in-custody drug treatment
service, case management services for parolees, and a wide range of
other services. The organization has grown under Dr. Taylor's
stewardship and today serves more than 6,500 clients annually in
Sacramento, Contra Costa, San Diego and Marin counties, treatment to
2,400 inmates daily in seven California prisons, and parolee
management in 18 California counties.
co-directed the Marin County Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime
Project (TASC) for five years and was Director of the Sonoma County
TASC for two years. The mentally ill diversion program she developed
at Sonoma TASC became a national model. She directed the Phoenix
Project at San Quentin, served on the Marin County Adult Criminal
Justice Commission, and chaired the Commission for four years. Dr.
Taylor has also served as a special consultant to the National
Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. The Residential Women
and Children's Program she developed at Center Point in 1990 is
one of the best in the country.
Dr. Taylor has a
Master's in Public Administration, a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology,
a MFCC, and she is a Certified Practitioner of Psychodrama and Group
Sociometry. She holds office in the Therapeutic Communities of
America (TCA) and chaired the California Therapeutic Communities
Association (CTC). She serves on several statewide advisory boards
and commissions, chairs the California Perinatal Treatment Network,
serves on the Proposition 36 Statewide Advisory Group, co-chairs the
Department of Alcohol and Drug Program's Access to Recovery
Project, and serves on Department of Corrections Office of Substance
Abuse Program's Policy Advisory Committee.
As a consultant
for the State Department, Dr. Taylor toured India, Burma and South
East Asia as an expert in narcotics treatment. Her team was sent to
train psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and counselors in
the latest techniques. She has lived in the West Indies, Sweden,
England, Laos and Bangkok and speaks several languages. Married to
another clinical psychologist, Dr. Taylor has one son, Thaine, who
recently completed a four-year enlistment with the US Marine Corps.
He was deployed to Afghanistan immediately following September 11,
Terwilliger, known to generations of Marin residents as "Mrs.
T.", has devoted over forty years of her life to environment
teaching. She began the work as a young mother when she took
her own children on nature walks. During these times, she
shared her high regard for all living creatures and extensive
knowledge about the eco-system of Marin. Through her animal
collection, her famous walks and countless visits to Marin and Bay
Area schools, she has communicated her love of nature in a creative
and memorable way.
Mrs. T., an active member of the Marin Conservation League, worked
toward the creation of Monarch butterfly preserves and the purchase
of land for open space and parks. The establishment of the
natural preserve on Goat Hill, located on the Tiburon peninsula, was
a direct result of Mrs. T's efforts. She helped to co-found
the Marin County chapter of the Audubon Society. Mrs. T. also
helped to establish many of the bike paths throughout the county,
setting an example for other communities in the nation and enabling
cyclists to enjoy the beauty of Marin. She is the recipient of
numerous local and national awards, including the President's
Volunteer Action Award, given to her by President Ronald Reagan at
the White House in 1984.
Read Elizabeth Terwilliger's extended biography
Phyllis has the extraordinary ability to visualize possibilities,
and organize and orchestrate vision to reality.
During the past 40 years, Phyllis has committed
herself to volunteer community service through leadership in supporting
existing cultural institutions and developing new ones. She
has worked to further understanding about the role that art plays
in quality of life. By learning a new vocabulary to communicate
with businessmen and politicians, she has been successful in advancing
her culture goals. She welcomes obstacles and challenging barriers.
Among her many accomplishments is her 32-year
leadership of the Marin Ballet Association during which time she aided
in its growth and development, including the purchase of its building.
She helped salvage and spearheaded the building of the Civic Center
Memorial Theater and served as founding member of what was to become
the Marin County Fair and Parks Commission.
A fine visual artist herself, she has designed
and produced original posters for the Marin Ballet, "Dance Through
Time", and the International Dance Alliance. Her
leadership and fundraising efforts have enabled the development of
many cultural organizations including the Art Works Downtown, Youth
in Arts and Marin Arts Council.
Phyllis' two daughters, four granddaughters,
their friends, ballet school graduates, artists, co-workers and friends
declare her as an important role model in their lives. She believes
that her most lasting contributions to the community are her four
children who are making significant contributions to the community
on their own.
Read the extended biography by Barbara J. Euser
In her years with Community Action Marin, dynamo
executive director Gail Theller has witnessed CAM grow from a fledging
with a $40,000 annual budget to a huge, multi-program, multi-site
service agency with an annual budget exceeding $10 million.
and she's not done yet.
Personally and professionally Gail thrives on empowering people -
especially women. Countless poor women have gone to school or
work because Gail has seen that CAM provides affordable, quality
childcare. She has increased the number of day care programs
for infants and established the million-dollar Hamilton Children's
Campus, serving 150 children in Novato.
Gail finds creative ways to say "yes." When the AIDS
epidemic surfaced, she positioned CAM as a key provider of
services. By developing unique peer-run programs, Gail has
helped Marin's homeless and mentally ill to take control of their
lives. Some of her programs serve as models in other parts of
Successful collaboration is another of Gail's trademarks.
Working with Goodwill, Gail and CAM developed Marin Jobs and Career
Services. Since 1997 they have placed more than 600 at-risk
residents in permanent jobs paying at least $8 an hour. The
Helen Vine Detox Center, another successful partnership, serves more
than 800 Marinites a year.
Over the years Gail has nurtured Marin's most valued, successful
organizations - Homeward Bound, the Farmer's Market, the Food Bank,
the Marin Child Care Council, and Ritter House. Currently CAM
is fiscal agent to emerging organizations such as Isoji (serving
Marin City) and the Marin Continuum of Housing and Services.
Gail's strength and courage are also evident in her personal
life. She has dealt openly with being gay, overcome an alcohol
problem, and donated a kidney to her sister. Gail is a beacon,
showing us how to serve with generosity, compassion and dignity.
SHIRLEY A. THORNTON
A strong advocate of equality and excellence in education for all
children, Dr. Shirley Thornton served as Deputy Superintendent of
the Specialized Programs Branch of the California Department of Education
from 1986 through 1995. She also served as Vice-Chair of the
Board of Trustees of the Marin Community foundation. She was
named to the board by the Foundation's first sic trustees in 1986,
and was re-appointed to a second term. She is a retired Colonel
in the United States Army Reserves with her last assignment as a member
of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
As Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Thornton was
a strong voice and prime "mover and shaker" to improve programs
statewide in career vocational educational special education and adult
education, state special schools, alternative education and programs
for "at-risk" youth.
Dr. Thornton's contribution to education
is most visible in the bold and innovative program she instituted
ten years ago --- the California Local Educational Reform Network,
C-LERN. With technical assistance, resources and training provided
by Dr. Thornton's division, C-LERN schools, including the San Rafael
City Schools, learned to transform their organization to meet the
needs of students more effectively by providing equal opportunity
for all students regardless of ethnicity, race, linguistic, social
or economic differences.
Read the extended biography by Sheri Rice
Betty Times has been a leader in Marin County since high school days.
Married and the mother of five children by the age of twenty two,
Ms. Times entered a job training program when her youngest child was
two. She simultaneously entered a bachelor's degree program
and earned her B.S. in 1979. She began working for the County
of Marin as a typist in the public library and ultimately became a
major department head. As Director of Citizen's Services with
the County of Marin, Ms. Times was responsible for providing services
to the most vulnerable of Marin's citizens.
Ms. Times' public career includes three elections
to the Sausalito School Board, serving as President three times, a
founding member of the Marin County Commission on the Status of Women,
President of the Marin NWPC and its national Vice-President, Chair
of the Marin Democratic Central Committee, board member of Marin General
Hospital, and service on numerous local and regional boards.
After her retirement from county government, Ms. Times
became Administrative Director of the Marin City Project, where she
displays her outstanding leadership as that community works to be
active in economic and community development and to take advantage
of the opportunities afforded by the Marin City USA development.
Focusing on coordination of efforts to serve Marin City, she works
to improve the conditions and well-being of Marin City's residents.
(Betty passed away in 2001)
Health & Medicine
As a young nurse, Mary Taverna observed that terminally ill patients
were lacking adequate, compassionate care. She decided there
had to be a way to relieve the loneliness, isolation, and fear that
haunted the last days of dying patients."
In 1976 Ms. Taverna joined Hospice of Marin, a fledgling organization
dedicated to helping people die with dignity and support.
Two years later she became the President of Hospice of Marin.
Although the program was growing steadily, there was much resistance
from other health care providers to the concept of hospice care.
Undaunted, Taverna kept on.
Largely because of Mary Taverna's persistence, Hospice of Marin
was a true pioneer in the establishment of hospice, not only in
the County, but also in the U.S. and elsewhere. In 1995 the
National Hospice Organization honored Ms. Taverna as "the individual
who has done the most for hospice in the national and international
Ms. Taverna is a true role model for hospice professionals.
Health care providers from all over the country have come to Hospice
of Marin for specialized training in end-of-life care. Taverna
also helped write legislation to provide public health care insurance
coverage for hospice services. This legislation, enacted in
1983, enabled the hospice movement to remain financially sustainable
and led to private insurance coverage of hospice services as well.
Locally, under Mary Taverna's leadership, Hospice of Marin has become
a vital humanitarian organization that is known in Marin County
for its high-quality patient care and strong community relationships.
Growing up in Fairfax, the young Karin Alstrom spent long, happy hours
roaming Marin's hills. In the early 1970's when her favorite
Cascade Canyon was targeted for development, Ms. Urquhart declared,
"Over my dead body!" and launched a career that swept
her from devoted mother of seven to environmentalist with respected
credentials and political sophistication.
Ms. Urquhart's environmental work as an early
organizer of People for Fairfax Cascades dovetailed with the creation
of the Marin Open Space District which now manages over 10,000 acres
of recreational land in Marin. Ms. Urquhart has served as a
commissioner for the district since its creation in 1973.
For many, Ms. Urquhart's name is synonymous
with the Marin Conservation League whose board she joined in 1976
and then presided over from 1977 to 1979. She became MCL's Executive
Director in 1980 and successfully managed its steady growth in membership,
community respect and credibility. She has served on the boards
of a multitude of local groups including the Marconi Conference Center,
Marin County Chamber of Commerce, Marin Society of Artists, Marin
Agricultural Land Trust, Environmental Federation of California, People
for Open Space, and the Environmental Forum of Marin. In 1982,
she was the founding chair of the Marin Conservation Corps.
In 1996, she retired from the Conservation
League and became Executive Director of Digital Village. She
was also appointed by the Board of Supervisors to represent the County
of Marin on the board of the Marin Community Foundation. Retired
once again, she is enjoying her garden, her business (Urquhart and
Associates), and continues to be active on many non-profit, Marin
Read the extended biorgraphy by Sheri Rice
Rodrigues da Fonta Verrall (1883 - 1964)
Giving to the community is an inherent part of life in Marin. But
giving one’s entire inheritance of shoreline property to become
a wildlife sanctuary is extraordinary generosity. This is the story
of an incredible gift by a unique woman known as “Tiburon’s
Rose Rodriques da Fonta immigrated with
her parents from the Portuguese Azores when she in 1886 when she
was three years old. They were tenant farmers at the Reed family’s
ranch in Tiburon. Rosie grew up on the 11 acre knoll along the shore
of Richardson Bay, an arm of the San Francisco Bay.
A romance developed between young John Paul
Reed and Rosie, but it was squelched by his family and John never
married. Before his death in 1919, Reed gave Rosie and other long-time
ranch tenants parcels of his land. Rosie now owned the 11 wondrous
acres overlooking the Golden Gate, where she grew up and still lived.
She stayed on the knoll after her marriage
to Arthur Verrall in 1933, witnessing the seasons, wildflowers,
and flocks of migratory water fowl. Rosie also witnessed developers
fill her beloved marshes for construction. She found these changes
alarming. She was determined that her property and its abundant
wildlife would not fall to the developers.
In 1957 Caroline Livermore and Elizabeth
Terwilliger, legendary Marin conservationists, persuaded Rosie to
donate her precious 11 acres to the National Audubon Society as
headquarters for the Richardson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Her parcel
was the key to saving the 900-acre bay from being filled, and to
preserving the Tiburon shoreline for public use. Her donation is
considered the single most important act of environmental preservation
in the history of Marin County. Her gift opened the door to saving
San Francisco Bay and protecting all the great bays of Marin as
Rose Verrall understood the impact development
would have on the quality of life. She had the confidence and support
to do something about it. Because of her determination Rose was
able to preserve a unique part of the threatened landscape. And
generosity! Who among us would give all we owned to the community?
About those goats: turns out Rose was green
before her time. She considered her goats not only as pets, but
as efficient lawn mowers. Hats off to Rose Verrall, one of Marin’s
treasures. (For more details see Saving the Marin-Sonoma Coast by
Rosie’s doctor, Martin Griffin.)
Victoria has been a strong and consistent voice for women of color
and other disenfranchised people in pursuit of quality education.
She is passionate about promoting education and opportunities for
As a 20-year old immigrant, not content with
the status quo of deplorable conditions for minorities, she committed
herself to becoming educated and to empowering others to continue
similar work. She has had a prestigious career in college administration,
activism, fundraising, program organization and humanism. Her
self-fulfillment comes from helping to improve the quality of life
and developing a cultural identity for Latinos in the Bay area.
The means by which she achieves objectives are numerous, varied and
She was one of the two founders and Directors
of the educational component of the Latino Film Festival of Marin;
she has initiated numerous programs at the college that address needs
of minorities, as will as founding the Latino Educational Council
and Hispanic Cultural Center. While much of her activism is
focused around her profession, she understands the experiences that
Latinos, African-Americans and other minorities have in working to
carve out a life in Marin County. She accepts people as they
are and also knows what a difference a friendly hand can make.
She does her work quietly and asks nothing in return.
Victoria provides a legacy of success by courage,
determination, perseverance and pizzazz.
Read the extended biorgrphy by Barbara J. Euser