Janet Edith Lamborghini died peacefully at her home in Del Mar, CA, on Sunday, May 5, 2013. She was 73.|
Born May 9, 1939, in Plymouth, MA, the fourth child of Gladys E. and Joseph S. Lamborghini, she attended the public schools in Plymouth before matriculating at Bryn Mawr College from which she graduated with a B.A. in biology in 1962. She worked for Professor J. David Robertson at Harvard before going on to graduate school at Tufts University from which she received her Ph.D. in biology.
In 1967 she married Nicholas C. Spitzer, then a graduate student at Harvard. They went to London, England, for postdoctoral work before moving to San Diego in 1972. Her husband took up a position as a junior faculty member in the Department of Biology at UC San Diego and Janet carried out research as a postdoctoral fellow in his lab. Over the next 15 years she published a series of influential scientific papers analyzing aspects of neuronal differentiation.
Their son, Julian Elliott, was born May 29, 1980, (deceased January 25, 2012) and their daughter, Hilary St. John, was born November 23, 1984. Janet became intensively involved in the education of her children and wound up running for election to the School Board of the Del Mar Union School District. She was to be a member of the Board for 16 years (1992-2008); served as President several times and as Clerk and on many committees; and she oversaw the construction of five new schools. She was instrumental in the hiring of two superintendents, was a vigorous advocate for all students, and worked hard to maintain excellence in education during a challenging period of rapid growth. She served as a member of the original strategic planning team that created a direction for the future of DMUSD. She taught mathematics to fifth and sixth graders and was much beloved by teachers, students and parents. She served as PTA president, geography Olympiad and math coach and Dollars for Scholars treasurer at Torrey Pines High School and was recognized for her public service with the naming of Janet Lamborghini Day on November 21, 2008. She was divorced in 2004 and enjoyed traveling in her later years.
Janet had a love of music, nature and all wildlife and a physical fearlessness that she imparted to her children. She had a gift for enthusiasm, an impish wit, a passion for books and poetry, and an industrious energy that always embraced learning for her as well as for others. She was a first-class volunteer and a hands-on philanthropist, donating largely to Dollars for Scholars as well as the ARCS Foundation Inc. and the San Diego Opera.
She is survived by Hilary St. John Spitzer and Nicholas C. Spitzer of San Diego and Del Mar; brothers, Joseph Lamborghini of Durham, NH, and James Lamborghini of Melbourne, FL; also by 10 nieces and nephews; 21 great-nieces and nephews; and two great-great-nieces and nephews.
There will be a memorial service for her at noon on June 29, 2013, at El Camino Memorial Park - Sorrento Valley.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to any of the institutions listed above.
Published in the Del Mar Times on May 16, 2013