A former educator, Iniece Bailey
was a selfless and tireless worker for many causes. A passionate
activist for social and civil rights, she was co-founder of Operation Give
a Damn, Inc., a Marin City based program, established in 1969, to
assist young people at risk.
Ms. Bailey was also co-founder of the Marin
County and Mill Valley Human Rights Commissions. While serving on the
boards of the ACLU, CORE, Adult Criminal Justice Commission, and the San
Quentin Task Force, she furthered her efforts to end injustice by
sensitizing others to its presence. She was a founding member and
ordained Elder of the St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Marin City.
Steadfastly committed to children, she was a
mother of four and a long-time foster parent. She served as the
Marin County Coordinator for the United Nations Year of the Child, and has
the distinction of being the first African-American PTA President of
Tamalpais High School. She was also an early board member of Project
Care for Children.
Ms. Bailey began her second career with the
Department of Public Social Services as an Eligibility Worker. She then
became a Supervisor for a unit of para-professional Social Work
Assistants. Ultimately, she became the Department's liaison to the
County Head Start providers.
At the time of her death, she had been
diligently working to pioneer an affordable child care center for infants
and toddlers from low income families. The Sausalito based Iniece
Bailey Infant and Toddler Center was established in her honor.
Read the extended biography by Nancy Nakai
JOAN LINN BEKINS
Introduction: In January 1964, the San Francisco Chronicle named
Joan Linn as one of thirty-ﬁve business people chosen as “Bay Area
Leaders Who Made Their Mark in 1963.” After a long professional public
relations, sales promotion, and advertising career representing
agricultural industries, Joan married Don Bekins in 1964 at age 34. With
their infant in a packpack and leading their toddler by the hand, Joan
started walking with Elizabeth Terwilliger in 1967.
For many, Joan Linn Bekins’ name is synonymous with that of Elizabeth
Terwilliger. Joan was the energetic volunteer who was the “woman behind
the woman.” She publicized and nominated Mrs. T for numerous awards
(including President Reagan’s volunteer award) to direct public
attention to Mrs. T’s important work with children. In 1970, she
launched the Terwilliger Nature Guides to help Mrs. T lead school ﬁeld
trips, the non-proﬁt Elizabeth Terwilliger Nature Education Foundation
in 1975, and theTerwilliger Guild in 1984.
While education chairwoman for Marin Audubon Society’s Board of
Directors in 1972, Joan obtained corporate funding to produce and
distribute three habitat ﬁlms featuring Mrs. T showcasing her renowned
teaching methods. Joan produced two more award-winning ﬁlms in 1976 and
1978. She now distributes free DVDs nationally through the non-proﬁt
Terwilliger Nature Education Legacy, founded in 2004 by Mrs. T’s
children. This effort represents Joan’s 38 year volunteer dedication to
this ﬁlm project. To date, seventy million children have met Mrs. T via
ﬁlm in classrooms throughout the United States!
In 1979, Joan was successful in obtaining Buck Trust funding for the
ﬂedging ETNEF organization. This enabled the volunteers to have an ofﬁce
in Tiburon and hire staff, but the effort was still volunteer-driven
with expanded recruitment and training programs for new Terwilliger
Nature Guides. NatureVans, ﬁlled with taxidermied birds and mammals,
traveled to schools in eleven Bay Area counties.
Joan edited and published books, naturalists’ site guides, and
records for children and adults to reach new audiences. Talented as a
volunteer publicist, photographer, grant writer, and fundraiser, she
also collaborated closely with the Marin County Superintendent of
Schools, environmental and conservation groups.
Joan emphasizes, “I could not have achieved this without the
support and talents of other women - - many with young children - - who
also contributed their time and enthusiasm to enrich childrenʼs lives
with an understanding and appreciation of Nature. I am, today, blessed
with their friendship, of both Terwilliger Nature Guides and the women
of the Terwilliger Guild. We shared a very special camaraderie. We had a
passion and Mrs. T was our inspiration.”
Joan inspired volunteers, and for some was a role-model; she was
recognized in 1980 as Marin’s “Volunteer Activist of the Year.” She
offered women opportunities to explore video production, event planning,
library research, archives, newsletter writing, production, graphic
art, schoolyard ecology, early education, senior and special needs
programs, that provided hands-on experience. For some, these became
their career choices. By 1995, the Guides had led tens-of-thousands of
children on school ﬁeld trips and the Guild had raised over $100,000.
When the Terwilliger ofﬁce was in her home from 1975 through 1979,
Joan provided women reentering the job force an opportunity to gain real
world business experience through a CITA-funded program. The women did
clerical work, helped with direct mail campaigns, and ﬁlled mail orders
for an assortment of educational Terwilliger materials Joan produced,
“Sights & Sounds of the Seasons,” “Mrs. Tʼs Coloring Book,” a record
album from the sound track of the ﬁlms, a song book, and “A
Naturalistʼs Guide to Richardson Bay Sanctuary.
Joan inspired other women to join her to help Mrs. T lead school ﬁeld
trips, and was the ﬁrst volunteer president of the Terwilliger Nature
Guides after spearheading the group’s formation in 1970. Joan actively
recruited docents each year and developed a well respected training
course for them to learn about plants, marine life, birds, insects, etc.
that empowered women to feel comfortable about teaching groups of
children, their teachers, and accompanying parents on walks. Many women,
like Joan, had careers before having a family and brought their
expertise to the programs. Joan encouraged volunteers to spread their
wings and schoolyard ecology, early education, senior and special needs
When it was apparent that some schools could not fund chartered buses
for ﬁeld trips, Joan and other Nature Guides launched the ﬁrst
Terwilliger Nature Van in 1981. Habitat scenes were painted on the
outside and children learned food chain concepts by placing magnetic
creatures in the habitats. Inside were taxidermied creatures for
multi-sensory, interactive experiences. This effort helped the non-proﬁt
to expand the numbers of children served annually from 6,000 to 65,000,
when two additional vans were put on the road to cover eleven Bay Area
Joan found that there were many women who believed in educating
children about nature, although they were not interested in becoming
Guides. To leverage their talents, in 1984, Joan formed an auxiliary,
the Terwilliger Guild, that staged “Fandango” fundraising events to help
support school programs and again offered opportunities for women to
develop new skills and friendships.
Her dedicated commitment to nature education has had a positive
effect on the lives of children throughout Marin, and the nation, as
well. An advocate for open space, she chaired an ad hoc committee in
1999 to fund and reinstate the Marin County Open Space district
The ﬁlms are still in high demand. Joan mails VHS and DVDs free to
school librarians throughout the United States on behalf of the
non-proﬁt Terwilliger Nature Education Legacy. This signiﬁcant program
for young children is nationally applauded for awakening a curiosity and
appreciation of nature and the natural world. It is also part of the
curriculum in some universities to demonstrate effective teaching
She is an award-winning nature photographer, and since 2000, when
she turned 70 years old, she has had numerous Bay Area solo exhibitions
of her work that beneﬁt non-proﬁts. She also writes a newspaper column,
“Wildﬂower Watch,” illustrated by her photographs.
Other recognition: Chevron Texaco “Conservation Award” 2002; CINE
Golden Eagle Award, Washington, D.C. 1973; John Muir Award National
Education Film Festival, 1974; elected Fellow in the Explorer’s Club,
1986; represented the U.S. in the International Wildlife Symposium,
member of the Consultative Committee, 1984-1988.
Joan’s special moments: “Sharing what I learned from Mrs. T with my two children, and now with my grandchildren.”
ROSARIO CARR-CASANOVA, Ph.D.
Dr. Rosario Carr-Casanova's every move is focused on the empowerment
of women and the improvement of their status. Throughout her
dual careers as an accomplished psychotherapist and a professor, Dr.
Carr-Casanova has demonstrated her belief in this goal. She
has a deep love for education and a dream of providing opportunities
for as many people as possible. As a university professor, she
has achieved national acclaim as a cross cultural and multi-racial
specialist. Dr. Carr-Casanova is aware of her impact as an example
to young Latinas and encourages young Chicanos to excel.
Dr. Carr-Casanova is also highly trained
in public policy and works to provide better services to women of
all races and to poor and needy families. She worked to establish
the Marin County Minority Mental Health Services, and to have counseling
services in Spanish provided though the Family Service agency.
While on the Board of Directors of United Way, Dr. Carr-Casanova brought
five Latino agencies in as new members. At the national level,
she has been instrumental in providing birth control information in
Spanish to the nation's Hispanic population. In addition, Dr.
Carr-Casanova raises funds for the Chicana/Latina Foundation, helping
Hispanic women to access higher education. In 1994, she was
named Citizen of the Year by the Marin Council of Agencies.
As a psychotherapist, Dr. Carr-Casanova works
with groups of youth who are believed to be dangerous and is successful
in bringing out the best in the community's most disturbed and discarded
teenagers -- many of whom she has seen become successful business
people under her tutelage.
Dr. Carr-Casanova is truly a champion of
the underdog. She is continually looking for better ways to
understand, represent and serve the Hispanic people. She advocates
that people obey the law, work hard and be of service to their families
and to the community. She stands as a powerful model, especially
for women, of focused determined action to uphold human rights and
to ensure dignity for all.
Read the extended biography by R.L.S. Kropf
and teaching are my passions, said Maryjane Dunstan first,
last, and always an educator. After teaching at Merritt College and
College of Marin, she was recruited by the State Department to teach
in Burma under a Fulbright grant. Her work was so exceptional her
one-year appointment was extended to four.
founded the Communications Department at College of Marin, taught
there for 20 years, and co-authored two future studies
textbooks. A true visionary, she developed courses such as "Inventing the Future", at which Buckminster Fuller spoke. Her "Future Fare" in the early 70s envisioned such unheard of
concepts as laser holograms, geodesic domes, and even personal
that educators have responsibility to the community. She served
tirelessly on elected and appointed Larkspur commissions. An
untiring catalyst for change, Maryjane always knew what to do and
didn't hesitate to enlist others in getting it done. She earned
the title of "Boss of Larkspur" because no matter how thorny the
issue, she could always smile while she twisted arms and persuaded
others to see things her way.
made her mark in the literary community. Co-owner of the beloved
Artist's Proof Bookstore on Magnolia Avenue, she hosted a series
of literary lunches first at Fabrizio's, then at A Clean
Well-Lighted Place for Books, and finally at the Larkspur Cafe
Theater. Not only did she bring in world-class authors, she also
engaged them in conversations that went straight to the heart of
their work. She stripped away all facades, ultimately revealing
each author as one of us.
Before her death in 2002, she left her friends some words of
appreciation, along with a few regrets:
that I cannot hop out of bed and walk down Magnolia today. . . that
I'm not out on the links trying for another hole-in-one! I regret
that I am not able to send daily emails to our elected officials
seeking their active leadership for peaceful problem solving and UN
negotiations rather than wars and more killing fields. Yet
treasuring each moment . . . I feel a measure of peace. . . . I have
evolved in a culture when we women gained some rights and are now
emerging as leaders for a just and peaceful world."
followed her passions until her death in December 2002. What a
As a young mother, Joyce Goldfield spent hours on the ice-skating
rink, in the ballet studio and in her sail boat. After a violent
attack on her life, which she miraculously survived, Ms. Goldfield
developed multiple sclerosis (associated with the trauma of this attack).
Subsequent balance problems interfered with her ability to ice skate
at her previously level of expertise and she returned to her childhood
love, horses. While riding, she was bucked off a horse and confined
to a full-body cast for two months. Discussing her frustration
about the cast and hindrance to her freedom with her friend Duane
T. Irving, they talked about the problems of disabled youngsters,
confined to wheelchairs, unable to properly enjoy the freedom and
healing powers of the wilderness.
On July 9, 1977, at Duane's ranch with 12
riders and 6 gentle horses, she opened the Halleck Creek Riding Club,
a Marin County 4-H Club. The club has grown to a membership
of over 500 riders of all ages and disabilities, with a core of 100
volunteers and 35 horses. Ms. Goldfield has written a book about
20 years of Halleck Creek in which she states that Halleck Creek is
an affirmation that life is a joy, regardless of the pitfalls,
and that it is more important to celebrate what you CAN do, rather
than to grieve over what you cannot.
Read the extended biography by Nancy Smith Harris
Kate Hacker touched hundreds of lives as a compassionate teacher and
an inspiring community organizer. She improved the lives of
children - especially teenagers - by connecting them with their community.
Kate Hacker taught early childhood development at Santa Rosa Junior
College, in childcare programs, and ran children's drama workshops.
She served as Director of the Campaign for a Healthier Community
for Children (CHCC) from 1987 until her death.
The creation of the Music Mentor Program in 1993 was the high point
of Kate's professional life. This innovative program
featured monthly concerts by local, teenage bands and drew crowds
of six hundred. Despite initial objections from local authorities,
Kate persisted. She took on her community's fear of teenage
energy and made from it an outlet for teenage creativity.
Kate believed the only way teens would learn responsibility was
by having them handle the concerts themselves. They interviewed
bands, promoted the concerts, performed, and even managed security.
By teaching them responsibility, Kate showed teens they could have
fun, earn respect, and achieve success.
While struggling with pancreatic cancer in 1998, Kate worked with
her staff until her last month, preparing them to carry on the work
of CHCC. Two weeks before she died, Kate rested at home while CHCC's
annual talent show (the 12th she produced) took place. After
the show the child and adult participants stood under Kate's bedroom
window and serenaded her with the songs she'd taught them.
Later that year, 50 children and adults made a float in Kate's honor
and marched in the County Fair Days Parade, where Kate Hacker was
posthumously named Honorary Marshall.
A self-proclaimed radical working for peace and social justice, Dorothy
Hughes' concerns about the isolation and disarray of American families
has led to a variety of events, programs, and numerous efforts to
reshape relevant public policy.
Her efforts began while working on her master's
degree and raising eight children. She also taught disadvantaged youth
and was active in the peace movement opposing involvement in Vietnam.
Her move to Marin in 1969 began a career with the Mental Health Association
that has included developing a comprehensive community care
system for mental health clients, such as Marin Lodge, Buckalew and
Avanti houses; preventative services such as Suicide Prevention and
the Canal Children's Center; and community action programs such as
stop-bys for latch-key children. These programs are part of
a network that assists people with mental health problems and addresses
the concerns that led to the formation of the "Campaign for a
Dorothy Hughes is always there to organize,
chair or serve on important Marin-based groups devoted to human rights,
mental health, children, and older people at the local, state and
federal levels. Her fond hope is that there will one day be
a progressive national policy on children and families.
When Marguerita Johnson graduated with a Master's in Education in
the 1930's there were few teaching positions in the North for an African-American
woman. When she was able to find work in her home state of Illinois.
she moved to Florida and taught in a one room school house until the
advent of the Second World War. There she became extremely active
in church and civic affairs, primarily in the area of civil rights
and, with her husband, raised five children, in addition to working
At age 56, Ms. Johnson "retired"
and moved to California. She entered U.C. Berkeley and obtained
a Master's Degree in Library Science. She found work in Marin
and gravitated to Marin City to get closer to her church and the African-American
community. Ms. Johnson quickly became a leader, serving on both
the Marin City Community Service District Board and the Community
Development Corporation Board. Ms. Johnson served nine years
on the Marin County Commission on Aging, including two years as its
chairperson. She was instrumental in developing the Village
Oduduwa Senior Housing development which provided low-income housing
for the elderly. She also helped establish what is now known
as the Marguerita Johnson Senior Center.
Anne T. Kent devoted her life to serving and enriching the Marin community
through her enthusiastic interest and energetic participation in a
variety of activities. She showed her love of the environment
by donating half of Kent Island in Bolinas Lagoon to the Nature Conservancy
as a wildlife refuge. A woman who loved being outdoors, she
further demonstrated her environmental commitment as a founding member
of the Marin Art and Garden Center, the Marin Conservation League
and the Marin Garden Club. She also had an active, long-term
involvement with the National Audubon Society, California Botanical
Society and the Save the Redwoods League.
Anne Kent, who attended "librarianship
school" in 1920, showed her love of reading and learning through
her "generous and warm-hearted" leadership in the establishment
of the Marin County Library System in the 1920's. She later
initiated and managed an extensive oral history project focusing on
Marin's earlier years, interviewing, with her partner, over two hundred
and twenty-five "old-time" Marinites. She was also
an active member of the Marin County Historical Society, the California
Historical Society and the Friends of the Library. The Civic
Center Library Branch houses a special room devoted to California
and Marin history. It is named "The Anne T. Kent Room" in
recognition of her many civic contributions.
Martha Martinez volunteered
for many organizations that provided services for the Latino population in
Marin, especially those that helped the Latinos become more a part of the
community. Where no programs existed, she started them. One of
her most outstanding services was the work she did for the Novato police
department in composing Spanish translations for publications. She
worked with the Marin Independent Elders Project, the Marin Housing
Authority, Fair Housing La Familia Center, In-Home Support Services of
Marin and the Commission on Aging. Ms. Martinez developed a
Language Bank to bring bilingual volunteers to serve low income seniors in
Her respect for elders fueled her and she
directed her energies toward the elderly in general and the Latino elderly
in particular. She formed the Corazon Latino groups for senior
Latino women and for men. She founded a program with the Novato
Police Department called "Are You OK?", which is still
operating, in which volunteers call home-bound seniors every day to check
on their safety. She served as a mentor to many Hispanic women in
Marin, encouraging them and promoting higher education. Ms. Martinez
was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. After attending school in San
Antonio, Texas, she worked in Mexico City as a translator for the
Rockefeller and Ford foundations as a secretary to the Minister of
Agriculture, returning to the United States to live in 1965. She
died September 13, 1995. Novato Police Chief Brian Brady said,
"Martha Martinez's accomplishments and legacy will live on.
The police and this community lost a friend."
Helping others, seniors, the disabled, the economically disadvantaged, to find affordable housing has been Mary Murtagh’s primary focus since college. After graduating cum laude from Wellesley College, she studied architecture at M.I.T. Mary was assigned to design a bus shelter in a public housing project and saw for the first time, the reality of urban poverty. She was motivated to be part of the solution and abandoned architecture to become involved in urban problems, housing policy and real estate finance.
Mary believes that poverty is very often a women’s issue that has a cascading effect due to discrimination and flawed social policies. Early in her career, Mary saw that the security of housing would provide a secure foundation to give disadvantaged women and their families an opportunity to succeed.
Today Mary serves as President and CEO at EAH Housing, (Ecumenical Association for Housing) and has overseen EAH develop over 5,500 units in 42 municipalities in California and Hawaii - often places where "affordable housing" is an oxymoron.
Mary served as Assistant Deputy Administrator of the Community Redevelopment Agency in Los Angeles and Development Officer for the Urban Development Action Program of HUD. She spearheaded a $4 million renovation of the 174-unit Arlington Hotel in San Francisco for St. Vincent de Paul, an award-winning development, one of the first "sober" residential complexes in the nation for recovering alcoholics.
Mary’s perseverance, innovation, enormous energy, leadership ability and focus on affordable housing has proven to be her life-defining work: growing EAH from a small grassroots organization with 16 properties in Marin to a nationally recognized non-profit housing development, management and advocacy organization serving over 18,000 individuals in two states.
Her innovative policy changes at EAH Housing have included: access to technology for EAH residents, a corporate-wide "green" policy, programs for women re-entering the job force, residential training programs and child care facilities. Mary championed the first computer learning center in HUD’s Western Region; a network of 13 centers in EAH developments. She is committed to preserving properties at risk of conversion to Market Rate housing by keeping them available for low-income families and seniors.
From bureaucracy and NIMBYs, dried-up financial support systems, to an ever increasing demand for affordable housing, Mary has faced set-backs and challenges with grit and tenacity. Whether it is Edgewater Place, Mackey Terrace, Cecilia Place or one of a dozen others, she sees each property as a vital safe harbor for families who are working hard to keep their lives together.
The Hall of Fame is proud of Mary’s enduring quest to provide affordable housing for those in need.
Edna Muse is a volunteer dedicated to many Marin organizations.
She has committed countless hours to many causes that impact the quality
of life for local residents, including the American Cancer Society,
the Novato Human Needs Center, the Novato Unified School District,
and numerous local hospitals. She co-founded the Concerned Parents
of Novato, a multiracial organization that raises scholarship money
for local African-American youth. Her ability to walk in someone
else's shoes has made her a valuable asset to the Novato Police Advisory
and Review Board. Her service ranges from helping to collect
emergency foods, to serving on speakers bureaus, to being in charge
of fund-raising. She's upbeat and possesses an uncanny ability
to find the common bound between diverse groups of people. An
active member of her church, she is an extraordinary singer and soloist
in the choir.
Ms. Muse's contributions have been recognized
in numerous awards including the Humanitarian Award from the Marin
County Human Rights Commission. A close friend wrote, "It
can be truly said of Edna Muse that she has played a part in fulfilling
the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She has tried to feed
the hungry, clothe the naked and visit those who were in prison;
she has tried to love and serve humanity."
Read Edna Muse's extended biography
DOLORES "DOLLY" NAVE
Few people affect the greater public good than Dolores Nave,
affectionately known as Dolly. At age 20, Dolly was a widow with two
children. Dolly's first husband
was lost in the Korean War. In 1955, Dolly married Rich Nave. Rich and Dolly
raised eight children. With her eight children involved in athletics and
recreational activities, Dolly had firsthand knowledge of available park,
recreation facilities and facility use requirements. Dolly soon set out to
improve our parks. Since beginning
these projects in 1982, Dolly can single handled be credited with more public
park improvements than any other private citizen of our time.
Dolly volunteered at Albert Park for 35 years working with
the kids. Dolly created jobs for teenagers who needed school credit in the
school work program at San Rafael High School. Dolly was called the "Angel
of Albert Park." With tireless
fundraising efforts and in kind donations, Dolly was able to accomplish
upgrades to Albert Park, making Albert's Park a state of the art recreation
facility. Dolly's efforts lead to a new press box, public address system, new
surfaces for entry and bleacher areas,
resurfaced tennis courts and path, new roof for stadium, new infield,
new sand turf, new batting cages, new warm-up and pitching mounds, automatic
irrigation systems, new drainage lines, handicap access restrooms, repaved the
parking lot etc.
Dolly was the project manager for the construction of the
Marin Community Fields. This project created seventeen acres of public playing
fields providing softball, baseball, rugby, and soccer. Also, the Marin Community Fields project
constructed a thousand seat amp-theater for performing arts and Redwood High
Over the last forty years Dolly has been at the forefront of
several projects at San Rafael High School. In the 80's, as project coordinator Dolly raised funds to
grade and add two new electronic scoreboards for softball and baseball. In addition, Dolly replaced the
surge and filter tanks for the pool and refurbished the decks.
In the 90's, as the Alumni Project Coordinator, Dolly
started a new long term project to paint the entire school. The initial phase
was completed and every year since
another phase of the paint project has been completed. Dolly initiated,
"Save Night Football" campaign, resulting in the installation of
state of the art football lights at Miller Field. Dolly's fundraising efforts
lead to the replacement of the infrastructure at the main gym, football,
baseball and track fields. Also, installed a tank for the swimming pool to save
water and operating expenses. In addition,
completed the installation of new all weather track surface including drainage,
side curbs, fencing and high tech sports track surface. In 2000, as the project
coordinator, all weather track surfacing was completed. San Rafael High School was the first
High School in Marin County to have an all weather track.
In 1993, Dolly was a founding board member and construction
chair of The Marin Bocce Federation at Albert Park. In 1994, Dolly's efforts
led to the completion of the first phase, six state of the art world class synthetic
Bocce ball courts in the United States.
The Marin Bocce Federation
now provides recreation to over 1000 players per week. Marin Bocce was named
the most Beautiful Public Bocce Facility in America and received the
Presidential Renew America Award for Environmental Achievements.
Dolly received many awards for her outstanding accomplishments
and efforts. In 1988, Dolly was
awarded, Citizen of the Year for San Rafael. In 1989, Dolly was awarded the
Marv Lechner Award from San Rafael High School. In 1991, Dolly was awarded Women of the Year for the third
Senate District for the State of California. In 1993, Dolly was inducted in the Marin County High School Athletic
Hall of Fame for special recognition.
In 2010, Dolly and Rich were inducted in the Wall of Honor at San Rafael
Dolly would be the first to tell you that she did not do
this alone. Such accomplishments can only be realized with the full cooperation
of concerned local government, school districts, civic minded local business
and motivated citizens. Dolly was
a true volunteer, never receiving any compensation for any of her
projects. Dolly provided millions
of dollars in funding and in kind donations for many school fields, parks and
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.
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.
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
THELLER Community Service
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
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)
Grace Wellman gave her time over and over to influence issues meaningful
to the community. Her involvement and leadership were varied.
She ran the Civil Defense for Kentfield during World War II.
She coordinated the volunteer program, speaker's bureau and other
programs for the Marin American Red Cross. She played a leadership
role with both the Marin Garden Club and the Marin Outdoor Art Club.
In addition, Mrs. Wellman's volunteer support to the Marin Conservation
League lasted over forty years, as she served as its President and
in numerous other capacities.
Mrs. Wellman was instrumental in saving the
Bolinas lagoon as well as many other open space areas. She described
much of her work in conservation as learning "when to play Paul
Revere" including when to sound the alarm, who to call, and where
to go. In 1982, she was awarded the Green Award, the highest
award of the Marin Conservation League in recognition of her years
of excellence in the environmental field. She attributed her
success to the fact that she enjoyed people and she could organize
them and they could have fun.
Read Grace Wellman's extended biography
Mae Wygant is an artist with vision.
It is her ability to carry her vision to fruition that has benefited
thousands of elderly Bay Area residents. An ordained elder at
her church, Mae spoke with fellow church members gathered at her kitchen
table about the unmet needs of older Marinites. Many were passing
their days without any visitors or companionship except attending
medical personnel. Enlisting the support of friends, neighbors
and others willing to volunteer, Mae founded "Love Is The Answer"
(LITA) in 1975. LITA is an agency which makes friendship connections
between residents of convalescent homes and volunteers. Through
her persistence and commitment to service, agencies have been established
over the years in Sonoma, Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
LITA continues to grow; in 1996, a LITA was formed in Napa County.
Mae now faces the challenges of living with
a chronic neuro-muscular disease. Over the past decade, she
has experienced problems with her vision, muscle coordination and
the daily consciousness of living "less able". But
while Mae has had to slow down her busy schedule, she continues with
her successful painting career and with her LITA involvement.
She serves as an advisor to LITA in Sonoma, and recently volunteered
as a LITA coordinator in a local hospital. Mae also financially
supports LITA by donating some of her artwork to be sold at LITA fund-raisers.
Her plans for the future include LITA, exhibiting new artworks and
writing more poetry.
Read Mae Wygant's extended biography