26 January 2010

Laurie Vern Bright, 1942–2010

Laurie Bright, BAHA board member and preservation stalwart, passed away on Sunday, 24 January 2010, after a protracted illness.

A past chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, Laurie led many battles on behalf of Berkeley’s heritage. In 2006, he co-chaired the Measure J campaign against the City Council’s attempt to weaken the Landmarks Preservation Ordinance. That campaign failed but was redeemed two years later with the successful referendum Save the LPO—No on LL. In 2009, Laurie co-led another successful campaign—the referendum on the City Council’s Downtown Area Plan.

A longtime West Berkeley resident and the owner of an auto repair shop on San Pablo Avenue, Laurie found time to be a community leader, serving as president of the Council of Neighborhood Associations and editor of the CNA Newsleter.
Laurie & Tamlyn Bright at the “Maybeck Country” house tour, 3 May 2009 (photo: Daniella Thompson)

Laurie Vern Bright was born on 22 May 1942 in Los Angeles. He grew up in Sacramento and came to Berkeley in 1974. In 1981, Laurie married Tamlyn Schafer. The couple was a regular fixture at BAHA’s annual house tours, always tending a ticket table in front of one of the tour houses.

BAHA remembers Laurie with gratitude. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Tamlyn and the family.


Anonymous Stephanie Manning said...

This is such sad news about our beloved boardmember from West Berkeley. Laurie Bright was so active for so long. I remember what a team he and Pat Devaney were as champions for preservation. And now they are gone. Very very sad.

29 January, 2010 13:23  
Anonymous Carol Denney said...

Laurie was a dear friend to me and changed this town for the better in so many ways. Our last conversation was about the attack on Iceland's landmark status and the precedent it could set for all of our landmarks. To call him dedicated to the protection and preservation of the things that matter most would be an understatement. I will miss him terribly.

29 January, 2010 13:27  
Anonymous Austene H. said...

Laurie was a committed advocate for Berkeley's neighborhoods and their livability, preservation and vitality. He was a friend to many, many people. I will miss him as a friend and a community supporter.

29 January, 2010 14:56  
Blogger Janice said...

I first met Laurie Bright in the early 1990's when a group of us were trying to keep the University from building a toxic transfer facility in Strawberry Canyon. He was dedicated to the cause, and as always, he gave us the benefit of his intelligence, wisdom, and experience, and through him I had the first taste of the great social network of activists in Berkeley. He was a truly excellent human being, and I will miss him terribly.

31 January, 2010 19:27  
Anonymous Shirley Dean said...

In past years as a member of the Council and Mayor of Berkeley, I knew Laurie as a determined activist. He was passionate about historic preservation and saving neighborhoods. His successful efforts to save Berkeley’s strong Landmarks Preservation Ordinance from being destroyed by powerful special interests rank as one of the City’s most important election outcomes. The day that Laurie went to the hospital for the last time, he was concerned that he wouldn’t be able to make a meeting about saving Berkeley’s Iceland. His dedication, vast knowledge and devotion of many hours of personal time to so many worthy causes made a real difference in the lives of everyone, past, present and future in this City. But more than that, Laurie was a dear personal and family friend and a trusted advisor. He was a truly caring person. I will sorely miss our many conversations, wise counsel and the laughs that our families shared together. He cannot be replaced, but we all can commit to carrying on his work. I think Laurie would like that.

01 February, 2010 13:07  
Anonymous Susan Chase said...

I was deeply saddened to hear of Laurie Bright’s passing. I first got to know him when I first served on the LPC. He served as a kind and patient mentor to me and helped me get up to speed on the current issues facing the LPC at the time. The preservation community in Berkeley has lost one of its true warriors, and he will be so very much missed by us all. My deepest sympathy to his family.

02 February, 2010 12:32  
Anonymous Eric- Berkeley, CA said...

Very sad. Laurie was a great guy. The kind you don't find too often anymore. I wondered into his shop one day with a 75 year old engine, and he told me he had not done one in 30 years. But he said no problem- and the next time I stopped by he had all kinds of books and manuals on it. Where else would someone go out of their way to provide service like that? It was the beginning of our acquaintance and 5 years later I still made it a point to stop by occasionally and say hello because of his warmth and generosity. Berkeley has lost a heck of a guy, a business owner with real integrity and someone who genuinely cared about the town's preservation.

I will miss him.

09 February, 2010 16:38  
Blogger Kary said...

Thank each of you so much for all of the wonderful thoughts about my father. Those who knew him, knew what a passion he had Berkeley. It is a comfort for me to be able to read such kind thoughts about a man who meant the world to me.

19 February, 2010 10:25  
Anonymous Gale Garcia said...

I loved to drop by Laurie’s car repair shop on San Pablo Avenue with my latest news from the County Recorder’s Office about the construction projects defacing Berkeley, or to tell him some interesting tidbit I’d just learned at a BRT Policy Steering Committee meeting.

Laurie was the first person I’d ask about fine points of our Landmarks Preservation Ordinance or about CEQA law. His knowledge and insights were treasures that I appreciated every day, and hoped never to lose. I will miss him forever.

23 February, 2010 09:27  
Blogger George said...

I've known Laurie Bright since the early 1980s when he lovingly restored my ancient car. He, Tamlyn and I had many entertaining conversations about the ridiculous things that governments and institutions were capable of. He and I had lost track of each other over time. When I last saw him a couple of months ago he was not well, but he he appeared to be at peace with things. Laurie was very smart, determined, fair, and a gentleman. Definitely, I will miss him and my sincere condolences go out to Tamlyn.

03 March, 2010 13:33  
Blogger Dave said...

Fair winds and following seas Laurie.
He'll be remembered fondly.

08 April, 2011 10:58  
Anonymous Jenny Bright said...

I sit here reading, 2 years to the day that I lost my father. I am touched by all of the kind words and sentiments that everyone has shared about my dad. He was truly irreplaceable. Though I still feel like a huge part of my world is missing (because it is) I feel so lucky that he was mine! It is hard without him, but i think that for those of you who got to know him, or just spent a little time...we are all better people because he was a part of our lives.

24 January, 2012 13:25  

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