Beth Leder-Pack, a Santa Monica community leader and activist known for making a tremendous positive impact during her lifetime, passed away on March 30 at age 60 in her sleep after a brief illness.
Beth, a long-time Santa Monica resident who worked as an Information Analyst for the City of Santa Monica for 25 years, was a great woman, mother, sister and community leader, emphasizes her brother, Michael Leder.
“She was an amazing woman,” he says. “As a community activist, she helped thousands of women empower themselves to stand on their own, enabling them to continue the fight for those who were unable or afraid to fight for themselves.”
Born in Stamford, Connecticut, Beth graduated from Harriton High School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, earned her bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources from Cornell University, and her master’s degree in Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.
She began her career working in Philadelphia at Wallace Roberts & Todd, a large city and regional planning firm; then worked in the housing department for the Office of the Mayor of Princeton, Barbara Boggs Sigmund, in New Jersey before taking a job in housing for the City of East Palo Alto in California.
After moving to Santa Monica, Beth earned a reputation as a galvanizing and dynamic force in social justice, political and community organizations, including Santa Monica for Renters’ Rights, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and Santa Monica Democratic Club. She was also a founding member of Santa Monicans Allied for Responsible Tourism, a group of clergy, union leaders and activists fighting to increase wages for local hotel workers.
At the forefront of the local living wage movement, fighting for the rights of low wage workers, Beth was also a longtime affordable housing activist, serving as vice chair on the Board of Directors of Community Corporation of Santa Monica for more than a decade, as vice chair of the Ocean Park Community Organization and as a member of the City of Santa Monica Housing Commission. Beth also advocated for the welfare of her coworkers as a union leader for the Santa Monica Rent Control Board and the National Organization of Legal Service Workers Local 2320/UAW/AFL-CIO, which is the union representing the majority of those who work in federally funded legal services programs across the USA.
Known for her exemplary record of civic leadership, Beth received the Communitas Award in 2001 from the Church in Ocean Park, an interfaith community devoted to social justice, along with a commendation from the California State Legislature and the City of Santa Monica. She also served on the Board of Directors for the Growing Place, a preschool she valued for its commitment to providing a quality all-day, year-round early education program for children of City of Santa Monica workers and other working parents.
In other endeavors, Beth loved and appreciated the performing arts, especially music and theater. As such, she was an avid supporter of the Santa Monica public schools’ choir and theater programs.
Setting the Bar
Although Beth has passed away, her legacy will continue through her daughter, Anna, who worked for State Assembly Person Richard Bloom who represents Malibu, Beverly Hills and Pacific Palisades, and is currently attending Georgetown University.
When Anna was young, Beth, a devoted and loving mother, brought her daughter to many community organizing meetings, sharing with her a strong sense of social responsibility and civic engagement.
“My sister raised a great kid,” Michael says.
His sister had several favorite quotes, including: “Keep Your Dissidence,” “Girls Can Do Anything,” and “Hard Work Deserves a Living Wage.”
Above all, Beth will be remembered for her quick wit, ready laugh, adventurous spirit, generous heart, delight in bringing people together, concern for shelter animals, and her encouragement of friends and acquaintances of all ages to reach their potential.
A funeral service for Beth took place on April 5 at Hillside Memorial Park in Los Angeles. In lieu of gifts, the family requested donations be made to: A Purposeful Rescue, a nonprofit that saves overlooked, medically challenged, and senior dogs from high-kill Los Angeles Shelters (APurposefulRescue.org/) or Lange Foundation, a nonprofit that gives a future to cats and dogs who have already been born and abandoned (LangeFoundation.org).