Jean Lombardo, a longtime Woman’s Club member, died July 14 at a rehabilitation center in Torrance after battling kidney and heart disease for many years. She was 74.
The arts were her passion, and Lombardo was the art and music state chairman of the California Federation of Women’s Clubs. For the past four years, the district’s musical scholarship for high school students has been named after Lombardo.
While confined to a hospital bed, Lombardo listened to musical performances that were audio taped so that she could help select a scholarship winner, said Gina Radocchio, a close friend.
“She would never let anything get in the way of having that done, even lying in the hospital,” Radocchio said. “And if you had a fundraiser going, you knew Jean would be there to help you with it or to donate to it.”
Lombardo was president of the Hermosa Beach Woman’s Club from 1994-1996 and 1997-1999, and served from 2000-2002 as Woman’s Club District President, which encompasses 11 Women’s clubs in the area from Santa Monica to Rolling Hills Estates.
Lombardo was also the Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year in 1999.
“Jean was a role model for many of the women who volunteer and serve their community. She enjoyed her work at the Woman’s Club, and she was an inspiration for others to follow,” said Joyce Goffeau, adding that the Hermosa Beach Women’s Club is celebrating its 90th year this year and has about 74 members.
Family and friends said Lombardo was a talented costume designer. She designed and made the green drapes for the Hermosa Woman’s club stage, said Vicki Callahan.
“She was dynamic,” Callahan said.
“She was an outstanding, dedicated club woman,” said Sharon Hooper. “Jean was a great leader and brought along a lot of members into leadership positions. She was a great friend, loved by everyone.”
Lombardo grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. Jean and her husband Tony moved to Southern California in 1960, and after living in Chatsworth they decided they wanted to live closer to the beach and moved to Hermosa in 1987, said her son Tony Jr. Jean joined the Woman’s Club soon after, and also encouraged Tony Jr. to get involved with the Hermosa Beach Kiwanis Club, which he did in the late ‘90s and he ended up serving as president for a year.
Tony Jr. said his wife Dianne became involved in Kiwanis Club as well because of Jean’s influence, and their oldest daughter, Taylor, was president of the Kiwanis-sponsored Hermosa Valley Builders Club in middle school because of Jean’s example.
“Again, it all started with my mother,” Tony Jr. said.
Lombardo was part of the initial group that began the Beach Cities Toy Drive, and was instrumental in putting together the yearly toy-wrapping event that began in Hermosa Beach and now takes place near Christmas in Manhattan Beach.
“It started out really small,” Tony Jr. said. “Now all the kids and Girl Scouts and everybody goes to it. It’s just grown and grown and grown.”
Jean Lombardo was involved in Project Touch, a local outreach program. She also served as a public works commissioner and was a member of Friends of the Library, Tony Jr. said. Lombardo also was a member of the Redondo Beach and Rolling Hills Woman’s Clubs, and served on the board of the Community Center Foundation.
Lombardo was intimately involved in the city’s 100th anniversary, with fireworks set off from along Pier Avenue next to the Community Center.
Nicki Lombardo said her mother was a fashion designer and pattern maker for a while, and when she was younger she loved to sing.
“She always worked really hard to do things for other people,” Nicki Lombardo said. “She was an energetic, driven person. And she was a great mother.”
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, which was adjourned in Lombardo’s honor, Council member Mike DiVirgilio recalled a time after he became a public works commissioner that Lombardo rightly steered him toward a more sensitive handicapped parking space policy.
“She very quickly schooled me,” DiVirgilio said.
Council member Peter Tucker said Lombardo spearheaded the initiative to put much-needed stop signs at Longfellow and Highland avenues. “When I stop there, I remember Jean,” Tucker said.
Lombardo is survived by her husband Tony, her two children Nicki and Tony Jr.; three grandchildren, Taylor, 22, Caitlyn, 19 and Dylan, 13.
Family members said a memorial will be held at Journey of Faith Church on Aug. 4 at 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, family members request a donation be made to the Jean Lombardo Music Scholarship at the Hermosa Beach Woman’s Club, P.O. Box 43, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.