County officials mourned the passing Wednesday of former Supervisor Marian Bergeson, who was elected to represent the Fifth District on the Board of Supervisors in 1994 after a prestigious career in the state Legislature.
Mrs. Bergeson left the Board in November 1996 after being appointed by then-Gov. Pete Wilson to serve as California’s Secretary of Education. She later served on the state Board of Education and on the California Transportation Commission.
“We are profoundly saddened by the passing of such a loved and respected leader in our community,” said Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District. “We will always be grateful for the time she spent contributing her energy, optimism and intellect to help solve problems across California.”
“She brought so much experience and insight to everything she did,” said Vice Chair Michelle Steel, Second District. “She was a true pioneer and an inspiration to many.”
Supervisor Andrew Do said her legacy will continue thanks to efforts such as the Marian Bergeson Excellence in Public Service Series, which encourages more women to serve in politics and government. “Marian Bergeson’s legacy will continue to live on through the countless number of people she has inspired to run for office and serve in government,” said Supervisor Do, who represents the First District. “For generations to come, Orange County will remember Marian Bergeson for her leadership and lifetime of service.”
Supervisor Todd Spitzer, Third District, who was elected to his first stint on the Board as Mrs. Bergeson was leaving for Sacramento, remembered her as “the smartest, classiest person and elected official I have ever met. She continued to attend most social and political events despite her years of fighting illness. She was deeply committed to her family, her husband Garth and her children. She leaves an amazing and earned legacy. We are all better off knowing and working alongside her. Rest in peace, Madame Secretary.”
“She had nearly unparalleled stature in this county for good reason,” said Supervisor Shawn Nelson, Fourth District. “She understood more than most the intricacies of local and state government and devoted her life to solving problems.”