Isabel Landsberg, a woman with a gift for friendship and a long commitment to peace and justice, died on Christmas Eve in Swedish Hospital, Seattle.
Born in Riverside, California, the daughter of Juanita Van Home and Paul John Landsberg, Isabel lived, studied and worked in San Diego, New York City and Los Angeles. She studied Art History at California State University, Long Beach and worked for the Girl Scouts and the Missionaries of Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. She began a lifelong dedication to social justice as a volunteer with the Cesar Chavez' farmworker campaign and as a founding member of the Beach Cities Chapter of the National Organization for Women.
After moving to Seattle in 1979, Isabel began work at the University of Washington, taking time off to work for a fishing company in Craig, Alaska and to finish her bachelor's degree. She then returned to UW for twenty years, finishing her career there as an academic advisor for the Bioengineering Department. She continued her career in education at Lakeside School as Executive Assistant to the Upper School Director and as a student advisor.
Isabel's passions and commitments led her to University Friends Meeting for 15 years where she co-chaired the Sanctuary Committee during the years of unrest in Central America and served as a member of the Executive Committee for the American Friends Service Committee. Later she returned to her Catholic roots and became a member of St.Therese Parish, Seattle, and an Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, Bellevue. Alive to many spiritual paths, Isabel also explored Sufi mysticism, worshipped at Lake City Christian Church, and was a member of a group of chanters, expressing prayer through the sacred music of many traditions.
After Isabel retired from Lakeside School, she delighted in her many friendships and enjoyed bird watching, knitting, and crafts. She volunteered with many agencies, including a Seattle domestic violence shelter, First Place School and, most recently, the North Helpline and Food Bank.
During the last month of her life, while Isabel struggled with severe pneumonia in intensive care at Swedish Hospital, her many friends came to visit, chant, and pray with her. Her beloved brother Gus Brown and cousin Sister Charlotte Davenport were with her when she died; she is also survived by her sister-in-law Patricia, nieces Blanca and Lisa, nephews Ryan and Russell, Uncle Bill, Auntie Sue and Cousin Nancy.
"Life and prayer are intertwined, because the natural thing to do is to talk to God, to pray. Nothing is compartmentalized. "
Margaret Dove, CSJP