Editor’s note: This is a semi-regular feature that announces the deaths of people who impacted Santa Monica. Oftentimes the names and information are gathered from the ends of City Council meetings, when council adjourns in the memory of those who’ve passed.

Santa Monica College alumna Michele Serros died last month after a battle with cancer.

She wrote several acclaimed books about a range of topics, including growing up as a Latina in Southern California.

“I had the opportunity to meet her as a student and we actually formed an alumni group, I guess it was back in the ‘70s, and she was one of our recipients of a scholarship,” Mayor Pro Tempore Tony Vazquez said at last month’s council meeting.

She was a frequent contributor to National Public Radio, wrote on television comedies, and was highly influential to many mainstream rock bands from the 1990s.

Her book of poetry and short stories, “Chicana Falsa,” has been lauded by many.

Serros was 48-years-old and her death inspired numerous tributes from California writers and artists.

Rolfe Wyer

Rolfe Wyer, who was married to Santa Monica community activist Doris Sosin, died later last year.

“Rolfe became involved in Santa Monica politics, especially historic preservation, zoning laws, overdevelopment, and tree planting throughout the city,” Mayor Kevin McKeown said, reading from Sosin’s letter.

Sosin, a former Recreation and Parks Commission member, help found the North of Montana Association. She called Wyer a “gentle giant” who was looked up to by the entire family.

“Doris’ e-mail to me concluded, and I promised I would include this, ‘by the way, this distinguished gentleman was very handsome.'” McKeown said.

Barbara Ferstead

In an early January meeting, council honored Barbara Ferstead, who worked at the Main Library from 1951 to 1991.

“That forty years of service to the city was impeccable and she’ll long be remembered by the many people she touched,” McKeown said.

Ferstead’s daughter, Kyle Ferstead, works as the Planning Commission secretary.

Vivian Bradley Spurgin

Former Mayor Bob Holbrook passed condolence along to the council for Vivian Bradley Spurgin, who died in December.

“In 1945 she married Herb Spurgin and they were together for over 50 years, both were extremely active in the Santa Monica community,” Councilmember Ted Winterer said, reading from Holbrook’s note.

She spent almost 30 years in the Santa Monica public schools, most of them at Lincoln Junior High School teaching music.

“She created and directed ‘Musical Cheers,’ which sold out almost every show from 1962 to 1975,” Winterer said.
She stayed involved with the Santa Monica Retired Teachers Association and did voice-over commercials later in life. Her service was held at the First United Methodist Church in Santa Monica.


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