By Terry Miller
Floretta Lauber passed away peacefully in her beloved Arcadia on Aug. 1. A civic leader and community icon, Lauber began her City of Arcadia service in 1964 as a member of the personnel board and in 1965 was the first female appointed to Arcadia’s Planning Commission, serving until 1973.
During this time she became a member of the San Gabriel Valley Planning Council and served as president from 1967 to 1969.
In 1974 she became the first woman to be elected to the Arcadia City Council and served as mayor in 1976.
Former Longtime Mayor and lifelong Arcadian Gary Kovacic said: “Floretta was a legendary figure in the life of Arcadia and will be long remembered for her many accomplishments and vibrant personality. She was the first woman to serve as a mayor of Arcadia, and her dedicated commitment to our beloved community will remain first in our thoughts.”
Former Mayor George Fasching summed it up succinctly by saying, “We lost a legend!”
Community members have flooded our offices with comments about Lauber, so we are sharing a few more here:
“I’m deeply saddened by the passing of this amazing woman and friend. Arcadia has lost a true legend. Floretta’s dedication had no limits and her accomplishments were many and enduring. I believe that one of her greatest gifts to our community was her ability to mentor and encourage individuals to become involved in leadership positions throughout the city. Not only did she value and promote the importance of tradition, she was forward-thinking and knew that Arcadia’s future lies in the hands of first-class leaders. I was blessed to know Floretta for over 40 years and I am going to truly miss her spirit and friendship,” said Marilyn Daleo.
Another of Floretta’s many friends, Arcadia City Clerk Gene Glasco, offered the following tribute: “I am deeply saddened by Monday’s passing of Floretta Lauber; a dear friend and mentor. Floretta was Arcadia’s first woman mayor and life-long community leader. She is an Arcadia icon who loved and served her city with energy and passion; a luminary who contributed innumerable and lasting accomplishments to the city and for the community of Arcadia. Besides her incredible forte for community activism, Floretta was a classy lady.
“Floretta made an indelible impression on just about anyone who spent more than two minutes in her presence. My memories of her caring and sometimes opinionated advice will never fade.
“May God bless her journey in the company of heaven’s angels.”
Council Member April Verlato added, “I am so grateful for the many contributions of Floretta Lauber to the City of Arcadia. She was a trailblazer and inspiration as the first woman to serve on Arcadia’s City Council and first woman to be mayor in 1976.
“No one questioned whether I could do the job of serving on city council as a woman and a mother because Floretta had already proven it could be done.
“Thank you, Floretta, for all that you did for women in politics and for all residents of the City of Arcadia … ”
Floretta was well known in Arcadia for not only her civic contributions, but also her tireless quest for stories for her Social Whirl Column that has appeared regularly in this newspaper throughout the past 20 years.
Floretta attended just about every social event in town and the column was wildly popular with Arcadia’s highly-prominent social circuit.