1927 - 2013
Resident of Bonny Doon
Marilyn Hummel passed away peacefully with family in attendance on Dec. 31, 2013, at the age of 86. She was born in 1927 in Cincinnati, OH, to Richard and Alma Heim. Marilyn Heim studied English at Purdue University, where she met her future husband, Donald Hummel. She completed her Bachelor's and teaching credential at Penn State where Don studied engineering.
The couple were married in 1948 and in 1952 moved to Long Beach, CA, to raise their four children. In 1968 Don once again convinced Marilyn to relocate, leaving behind their friends in Southern California and making a fresh start in an out-of-the-way spot called Bonny Doon.
Marilyn's gentle, soft-spoken demeanor belied her strong beliefs in the importance of social justice and environmental protection. In her new-found community she put her convictions into tireless action, serving as President of the League of Women Voters of Santa Cruz County; officer in the Rural Bonny Doon Association; office manager and Executive Committee member of the Santa Cruz Group of the Ventana Chapter of the Sierra Club; member of the Santa Cruz County Planning Commission; and member and Chair of the Board of Commissioners of the Santa Cruz County Housing Authority. In every role she was known for her kindness, fairness, and sincere respect for the opinions of others.
One of Marilyn's most significant personal accomplishments was saving an isolated and literally fragile outcropping of the then little-appreciated Santa Cruz Sand Hills, later referred to as the "Galapagos Islands of Santa Cruz County" for their rare and endangered species. As private citizens, Marilyn and a small group of other dedicated volunteers worked for years to halt the clearing of what would later be recognized by the state as one of the ten most important botanical sites in California. The area is now forever protected as the Bonny Doon Ecological Reserve.
Marilyn also loved the arts. She and Don were season ticket holders of the Santa Cruz County Symphony, active members of the Santa Cruz Opera Society, and frequent attendees of other many other performances, including those of Shakespeare Santa Cruz.
Marilyn was preceded in death by her husband Don. She is survived by their four children: Nancy and husband Alan, Bill and wife Denise, Tom, and Chris; as well as four grandchildren: Lily and husband Adam, David, Nick and wife Kristy, and Lizzy; and a great granddaughter, Olivia. A memorial service will be held on Sat., Feb. 8th, at 3 pm at the Provost House at Cowell College, UCSC - right off Hager Dr., just north of the East Field House. All are welcome to attend.
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Jan. 18, 2014