Yvonne Zuniga Johnson
Johnson, Yvonne Zuniga of San Clemente passed away on June 8, 2010 at the age of 87. Yvonne was born October 24, 1922 in Mexico City, Mexico to Miguel and Julia Bal de Zuniga. She grew up in Hollywood California and graduated from Hollywood High School. Before settling in San Clemente she resided in Sierra Madre, Pacific Palisades, Manhattan Beach and Laguna Beach. Yvonne was the owner and manager of the Laguna Beach Motor Inn and also partnered with her brother to run the Fairview Apartments in Laguna Beach California. While it is impossible to sum up the life of someone in a few paragraphs the family would like the world to know the caring person that Yvonne was. Yvonne came from a family of musicians; her mother a world renowned concert pianist and her grandfather had studied with Franz Liszt.. She made her debut on the professional stage at the Los Angeles Public Library at the age of 6. As a lover of music she studied the piano and enjoyed taking lessons from her mentor and longtime friend Greg Dempster. Yvonne was an accomplished musician who shared her love and passion of classical music with others through her teaching of piano and her involvement with the Chamber Music Society. She frequently opened her home to local musicians as a place to try out their new works and many Sunday afternoons were spent there in the company of champagne, fine music, good conversation and the wonderful ocean view. She was a champion and supporter of young emerging talent and many benefited from her philanthropy, encouragement, musical taste and emotional support. Her contributions to the field of music are something that will always be remembered. She enjoyed attending concerts and experiencing the classical music she loved so much which included the composers Frederic Chopin and Sergei Rachmaninoff. She met Rachmaninoff when she was 6 years old at one of the great master's recitals in Los Angeles. Yvonne was committed to the idea that Art is a moral and spiritual endeavor and one of the last places in our culture where truth, beauty, selflessness and compassion could be found and expressed. Yvonne also enjoyed traveling with her best friends of over 60 years, Norma and T.A. Yvonne had a vivacious personality and loved to entertain family and friends. Some of her happiest moments were spent in her home in San Clemente watching the sun set over the ocean. Yvonne is survived by 3 sons; Michael, David and Bruce; 4 grandchildren; 5 great grandchildren and 1 great great grandchild. She is preceded in death by her husband Philip O. Johnson, her brother M.A. Zuniga and son Stephen Ayer Johnson who died in Vietnam. She was a member of the American Gold Star Mothers, a group of mothers of slain servicemen and women who worked to perpetuate the memory of those who sacrificed their lives in war and to promote peace and good will throughout the world. Surviving son David says: "Mom, I'll always remember you as I last saw you, and as you have always been your whole life; hopeful, sparkling, your home ringing with sweet laughter, joyful, caring, and thankful for each new day. The world will surely be a sadder, grimmer place, without the bright and smiling light of life that was the beautiful life of my Mom. May we all live such fulfilled lives." A private Celebration Of Life will be held at a later date. Donations may be made in Yvonne's name to the Philip O. Johnson Scholarship at California State University Dominguez Hills or the Julia Bal de Zuniga Scholarship at California Institute of the Arts Valencia, California. The family would like to thank Silverado At Home, her caregiver Theresa, and Silverado Hospice for the excellent care they provided.

Published by Orange County Register on Jun. 19, 2010.
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My mother (Ana Saldívar de Gaitán) was a student of Madame Julia Bal de Zuñiga in the late 40's or early 50's at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. I grew up hearing stories about Madame Zuñiga and am sorry never to have known her, or her daughter Yvonne, whose life blessed many people around her through her deep love of music and peace. Please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of your precious mother and loved one.
María Elena Gaitán
September 17, 2010
Yvonne perhaps unknowingly made a difference in the lives of many others. As the mother of my college roommate Michael, I enjoyed her home and family, where we heard music played, ate delicious Mexican dishes, and had fun times in their eclectic house. The Rachmaninoff LP she gave me for Christmas is still one of my favorites, and we will never forget that Yvonne and Philip were guests at our wedding in November 1969, while unbeknown to us Steve had just recently been killed in Vietnam. Her love of music was an influence on me and to some extent carried on to our 4 sons who all went to college on scholarships in classical music stringed instruments. Her love of life and sharing that with others will keep her memory alive forever.
Mike & Terry Flanery
July 12, 2010
It takes a long time to fill the void left on this world when someone like Yvonne passes away. I heard wonderful things about her from her daughter in law, Karen and would like to have known her personally. My condolences to the whole family, may you find peace in the many memories you must have.
Gail and Steve Evans
June 20, 2010
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