Mary Kate Mooser Lezin
October 7, 1925 - September 11, 2013
Resident of Santa Cruz
Mary Kate Mooser Lezin didn't do things half way. She jumped in with both feet, a willing participant in any adventure. Mary Kate and her husband Norman trotted off to Antarctica in their mid-eighties, "because it sounded like fun". This wanderlust traced back to a trip she took with her parents at age 11. They sailed out of San Francisco Bay under the beginnings of the Golden Gate Bridge, toured Japan and China, and returned months later to see, far above their ship, cars crossing the new span. The experience changed her young perspective and she determined thereafter to explore everything with unbounded enthusiasm.
She was endlessly curious and found humor in all things. "Everyone worth their salt," she would say, "is passionate about something". Mary Kate was passionate about art: music, the ballet, a museum exhibit, and the opera - from a world-class production in Italy to a compelling street performer in a New York subway. The day before she passed away, Mary Kate spent the day with Norman and dear friends in San Francisco delighting in the Richard Diebenkorn exhibit and lunch at the Palace of the Legion of Honor.
The lucky among us shared a table with her at some point. Mary Kate believed firmly in the virtues of a great dinner party. She put endless energy into planning an evening around a pretty table with good food, nice wine and vibrant debate long into the night. Mary Kate didn't hesitate to take a contrary view to get the table going- or just to cause mischief. All misunderstandings, she believed, could be addressed with humor over a good dinner. Mary Kate was an optimist to her core.
Mary Katharine Jensen was born on October 7, 1925 to Katharine Peirce and Norman Ramsey Jensen in Santa Monica, California. She attended Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, was valedictorian of her class at Santa Barbara High School and a member of Delta Gamma at UCLA. She married Frank Hellenthal 1944 and after the war moved to Santa Cruz where they soon created a family with four sons.
In 1961 Mary Kate founded Kay/Hubbard & Associates. For thirty years the agency created successful advertising campaigns for local entities such as Dominican Hospital, Santa Cruz County Bank, Plantronics, Crocker's Restaurants, Santa Cruz Savings & Loan, Big Creek Lumber, and many others. During this time she married Gurden Mooser, and had a daughter. Mooser predeceased her in 1999.
Mary Kate's generation established the cultural and service organizations that define Santa Cruz today, and Mary Kate played a role in their formation. She served as chair of the Santa Cruz County Arts Commission for nine years, president of the Cabrillo Music Festival for two, and was a founding member of the McPherson Museum of Art and History. Other service (she never did anything half way…) include board membership for Schools Plus, the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County, the Family Service Association, the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce, Shakespeare Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz County Community Foundation Board.
Mary Kate is survived by her husband, Norman Lezin; sons, Erik (Linda) Hellenthal of Roseburg, Oregon, Leif Hellenthal of Cazadero, CA, Cort Hellenthal of Angel's Camp, CA and Gard (Lori) Hellenthal, also of Cazadero, CA; and a daughter, Ashley Mooser (John) Spencer of Santa Cruz, CA. One of her greatest joys was being Grammy to her eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Her siblings, Anne (Don) Tichenor of Calabasas, CA, Eric (Virginia) Jensen of Arroyo Quemada, CA and Robert Jensen (Los Angeles, CA) will miss their big sister- the chief instigator of outlandish adventures.
Her prodigious maternal talents were happily extended to the children and grandchildren of Norman Lezin: Jennifer Lezin of Palo Alto, CA, Jeremy (Wendy) Lezin of Santa Cruz and Matt (Carol) Lezin of Santa Cruz; and the children and grandchildren of Gurden Mooser: Michael Mooser of Elmira, Oregon and Stephen (Linda) Mooser of Hamden, Connecticut.
In honor of her life and in her memory, contributions may be made to the Cabrillo Music Festival (147 South River St. SC 95060) or the Community Foundation Santa Cruz County (7807 Soquel Drive, Aptos, CA 95003).
If you would like to send your condolences to Mary Kate's family please visit www.scmemorial.com
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Sept. 22, 2013
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