Beverly Passon, president of The Woman’s Club of South Pasadena for an unprecedented eight years, passed away at home on Dec. 14 after a brief illness and hospitalization, the organization announced this week. She was 88.
Passon devoted 15 years to revitalizing the club, beginning in 2004. She faced a variety of challenges, including such major issues as complying with city ordinances, to possibly selling the historic 1913 Clubhouse at 1424 Fremont Ave. She served as president from 2006 to 2014.
Until her passing, she served as Club Rental chair and Christmas Store Chair.
According to several longtime club members, if it had not been for Passon’s persistence in resolving these and other issues, and in managing the facility, the club would not be the thriving organization it is today. She reinvigorated the club’s mission of service to those in need, and made sure that monthly philanthropy projects continued.
Passon recruited theatrical and musical groups to rent the building, and she encouraged the organization to support arts and music. She initiated an arts-and-crafts festival that evolved into the popular annual Holiday Boutique. She maintained the club’s scholarships even in lean times, and she spearheaded outreach to the community.
Passon was South Pasadena’s honoree at the 49th Los Angeles County Older Americans Recognition Day for 2014. The ceremony was held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center in Los Angeles on May 27, 2014.
Then-Mayor Marina Khubesrian presented Passon with a Certificate of Recognition for this achievement at the June 18, 2014 City Council meeting. Passon was honored for her “selfless contributions as President of The Woman’s Club of South Pasadena since 2006, and for reinvigorating the club’s mission of service to philanthropic and charitable projects that continue to enrich the South Pasadena community.”
Passon had a flair for fashion and was known as the club’s fashionista, wearing an eclectic combination of dramatic clothing and beautiful jewelry. Her “used” clothing booth at the club’s annual rummage sale was popular with shoppers.
Passon was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 20, 1931, and played clarinet in her high-school band. She was particularly fond of classical clarinet music.
She graduated with a fine arts degree from California State University, Los Angeles, and worked for many years as an escrow officer with Security Pacific and other loan-servicing companies.
Passon and her now-deceased husband David were musicians in the Ventura-Ojai area and performed with several opera and theater companies for many years.
They relocated to the Los Angeles area from Ventura to be closer to the music industry. They settled in South Pasadena in the early 1960s and bought a multistory hilltop home. There they regularly hosted informal and impromptu concerts.
As Club Rental Chair, Passon encouraged young, talented singers and actors. A retired mezzo soprano, she brought the Celestial Opera Company, the Vineyard Opera Touring Company, Upstage Theatre and other drama and acting companies to the Club.
Passon was also an ardent fan of the USC Trojan Marching Band and its toe-tapping, hand-clapping sounds. Although she was disappointed that she did not attend USC, Passon was a Trojan at heart. She experienced great joy listening to the Trojan Marching Band and attended many football games. Passon kept up with the USC football team and its coaches and players, and she often exchanged texts of frustration with others when the team lost a game or fumbled a play.
Donations in Passon’s memory can be sent to The Woman’s Club of South Pasadena, 1424 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena, CA 91030.
A celebration of life will be held at the Clubhouse at a later date.