Obituary of Angela Lazarow
An impressive artist, an innovative California State Executive Administrator, a champion for the mentally ill, a crusader in the
fight against cancer, Angela Lazarow was a gift. She succumbed to ovarian cancer after a valiant 5 year battle.
Born in Buffalo, New York to Howard and Helen Barker Nov 16, 1942, she moved to California with her family at the age of two.
With a nurturing soul and wide-ranging medical skills, Angela would go on to serve the state’s most challenging population, the mentally ill. It was her passion for 43 years at the California Department of Development Disabilities and the Department of Mental Health. She retired as
the Chief of the Office of Human Rights, California Department of Mental Health in 2004. About those she served she said, “They don’t feel they have a voice, that someone will listen to them. I had to be there for them, somebody who really believed in them.” She understood the needs of both patients and staff, providing creative solutions achieving a balance. A healthy dose of humor helped she says. “I remember walking down the hall one time at work and a guy says to me, ‘Why are you always laughing, Angela?’ And I said, ‘Why not?’ Why do we have to be so miserable that we can only live by the negative stuff that’s going on. Sometimes it is hard for people to reach down and find that other spot that allows them to laugh. We need to laugh.”
She laughed a lot and she did not work quietly. Her voice spoke with authority for those unable to defend themselves within the state’s bureaucracy. Her experience as a registered nurse with a speciality in surgery, ICU and psychiatric nursing services informed her advocacy. Generations of psychiatric technicians in state hospitals and development centers benefited from how she trained them. Angela found joy, peace and comfort in crusading for the causes that impacted her life – the rights of women, people of color and disabled populations. She loved diversity,
nature and animals. Her focus was always on the positive qualities of other people. Angela’s smile transmitted a special spirit that captured the hearts of many.
Grass Valley became her home in 1986. The location, the trees and the openness of the town’s people spoke to her. In her post retirement years she served on the Grass Valley United Way Board and was a ready helper in the community. As an artist, her painting style speaks with as much volume as her advocacy did. Vivid canvasses of bright, free flowing color that command attention. “When I paint, I paint with feeling. I don’t want to paint like everybody. I don’t want to paint flowers, cars and dogs. My art is what I feel.”
Angela is survived by her husband, Lawrence Lazarow, daughters Stacey Thomas- Locke, Stephanie Thomas, Heather Dutra, and stepchildren, Keith Lazarow and Robin Lazarow. Her siblings are Lois Zanders and Michael Anderson. Her dearly loved granddaughter is Jordan Cotton who became the apple of her eye.
At her request there will be no memorial service. In her memory, donations can be sent to Hospice of the Foothills in Grass Valley at 11270 Rough and Ready Highway, Grass Valley, CA 95945. The family deeply appreciates its positive support system and the sincere, compassionate and spiritual people who provided loving care through her transition journey.
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