Elsa Garcia-Pandavenes
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Elsa Garcia-Pandavenes

Elsa Stubbs Garcia-Pandavenes, PhD, died peacefully at home in Oakland on March 29, following a stroke. She was 84.

Elsa was born in New York City and grew up there and in Los Angeles. She studied at University of California, Berkeley, receiving her Doctorate in Romance Languages in 1970. Her dissertation, El Censor (1781-1787): Antologia, was published by Editorial Labor, Barcelona, in1972. From 1972 to 1997 she taught Spanish Language and Literature at California State University, East Bay (formerly Hayward). She also co-chaired the Women's Studies Program and taught courses in that discipline.

Elsa grew up in a progressive, politically-active family, and she remained politically engaged to the end of her life. She was active in the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley. During her years at CSUEB, she was an advisor to the Chicano Students Association and was an early advocate for the need for an Ethnic Studies Program. In January 2017, she was disappointed that her declining mobility did not allow her to take part in the Women's March in Oakland. So she made a sign for her wife to carry.

Outside of her academic and teaching endeavors, Elsa was a woman of many interests and accomplishments. A life-long lover of dance, she had taught Modern Dance to children while still in high school, and studied dance for a year at the Julliard School in New York. In later years she enjoyed folk dancing, especially Flamenco. She wrote poetry, which she read in Berkeley coffee houses in the late 1970s and '80s. A family birthday wasn't complete without a poem for the occasion by "Ettie," her family nickname. She loved art, and in her retirement studied painting and drawing at Laney College and the Oakland Recreation Center's Studio One. And she was a great cook. She loved nothing more than to gather family and friends around the table and feed them till they cried for mercy.

Elsa was known for her warmth and generosity, her sense of humor and her fondness for terrible puns (this seemed to run in the family). She was deeply interested in other cultures and enjoyed travel, as much for the strangers she might befriend on the train or in a café as for the masterpieces she might see in museums.

Elsa is survived by her wife, Sara McAulay; her daughter Maya Garcia Weston and son in law Marv Weston; son Pablo Garcia-Pandavenes; granddaughter Sasha Gut and grandson Raiden Sioson, all of Oakland; her sister Joni Cady and sister in law Jane Rosevelt, of Portland OR; and members of the Cady/Rosevelt and David families in Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, Seattle and Orcas Island WA. Her parents, George and Ethel Stubbs, and close cousins Trudy and George David, predeceased her.

A celebration of her life will take place at such time as COVID-19 allows. Donations to Planned Parenthood, ACLU, Doctors Without Borders, or Southern Poverty Law Center welcomed.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Jul. 9 to Jul. 12, 2020.
Please consider a donation, as requested by the family.
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2 entries
July 12, 2020
Sara McAulay
July 12, 2020
Please, no flowers. Plant a tree, or donate to charity in her name
~ Sara
Sara W McAulay
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