Former City Council Member, Law Professor & World Traveler |
Abbe Wolfsheimer-Stutz was a critical thinker, someone who would analyze, investigate and educate herself on matters before making decisions. Whether it was an important land-use vote before the City Council, or mapping out her next world-wide travel destination and itinerary, she would apply her education, passion for the truth, and analytical mind to produce the best result possible.
Mrs. Wolfsheimer-Stutz passed away on March 13, 2014, at her home in La Jolla. She was 75.
Abbe was born on August 5, 1938, in Chicago, Illinois, to Col. Irving Salomon (a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations during the Eisenhower administration and well-known local philanthropist) and his wife, Cecile. She grew up in Michigan City, Indiana, before moving to historic Rancho Lilac in Valley Center in 1945 where her education began in a quaint, one-room school house. After attending high school in Escondido, she went on to Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. It was there that she met her first husband, Louis Wolfsheimer, and they married in 1958. The couple moved to San Diego and had two children, Alison and Marc, living most of those married years in Pacific Beach and then settling in La Jolla.
Abbe served on numerous local boards, commissions, and charitable organizations and was well-known and respected in social circles. She was an especially strong advocate for the Arts – serving on the board of COMBO (The Combined Arts and Education Council of San Diego County) where she conducted numerous fundraising events for the local arts organization. She also served on the Board of Directors for the Malashock Dance Company since its inception. She was active with the Salk Institute Auxiliary and was a strong supporter of KPBS. Like her parents, Abbe was charitable and philanthropic, helping to fund the creation of the Valley Center History Museum and often giving generously to worthy Jewish causes locally and nationally.
In 1968 Abbe attended Cal Western School of Law, passed the California State Bar, and a few years later (in 1974) she became a Professor of Real Property at Western State University Law School in San Diego where she taught for 11 years.
Wanting to do more for her community, Abbe ran successfully for San Diego City Council in District 1, where she tirelessly served two terms from 1985-1993. She was a strong-willed environmentalist who often demanded that local developments include the most infrastructure, parks and public amenities possible. Among many other accomplishments, Abbe was instrumental in laying the groundwork for what is now the SR-56 connecting the I-5 and I-15 freeways. Her proudest accomplishment, however, was the establishment of the 92,000 acre San Dieguito River Park and (its managing arm) the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, where she remained on the Advisory Board.
A few years after parting ways with her first husband, she met Deputy District Attorney David Stutz and quickly fell in love. They were together for several years before finally getting married in 1997.
After completing a spirited political career, Abbe turned her passion to travel and writing. She became an author, publishing a fictional novel of wry political intrigue entitled 'The Whores of St. Joan" which many say paralleled some of the "back room" decisions that can take place in municipalities. When time permitted, she enjoyed working with clay and was quite skilled in the art of ceramics. She was equally talented as an interior designer.
Her biggest passion, however, which she carried throughout her lifetime, was that of international travel. With husband David at her side, she explored the world from the chilly Antarctic to obscure tribal lands in Africa. Abbe traveled to every corner of the globe having seen nearly every major site of interest and many sites that were far off the beaten path. She enjoyed seeing wild animals in their natural habitat and took great pleasure on safaris in Africa. One of her fondest memories was when she was allowed to hold and play with some cuddly Panda bears during a trip to China. In addition, she enjoyed cruising and often spent several months or more each year at sea enjoying the sites and exotic ports of call.
As mentioned, Abbe possessed an exceptional, analytical mind, often breezing through the toughest crossword or logic puzzles. Later in life, while researching her ancestry, her thirst for knowledge led her to the discovery of her half-brother, Derek Taylor of Colorado, whom she enjoyed visiting with as often as possible and especially around the holidays.
Abbe is survived by her husband, David; two children, Alison and Marc; daughter-in-law, Monica; step-children, Kristen and Daniel; and four granddaughters, Marissa, Sarah, Olivia and Amelia.
A private ceremony will be held at a future date.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Jewish Family Services.
Published in La Jolla Light on Mar. 20, 2014