Lila Atkisson
Lila Atkisson

Lila Atkisson, 96, passed away peacefully at home. She was born and raised in Long Beach California to John Curtis and Nancy Elizabeth Atkisson (Alexander). Lila graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School, had a Bachelor's Degree in Home Economics/Food and Nutrition from Santa Barbara College (now UCSB), and a Master's Degree in Public Health from the University of Minnesota. Lila retired in 1983 as Director of Public Health Administration and Education for the Ventura County Public Health Services. In this role she oversaw a county wide mass immunization program, Family Planning, WIC program, and many educational programs including a literacy program that put books into the hands of WIC recipients.

It is impossible to express in a few words what an amazing human Lila was. She was ridiculously smart, infinitely curious, culturally sophisticated, astoundingly gracious, and blessed with an indomitable sense of adventure and humor. She was tremendously generous of her time, energy, thought, and material goods. She loved a party and was the consummate hostess with soirees for every occasion and holiday. She traveled the world, checking off Antarctica as her seventh continent at the age of 87. She was a patron of the arts with season tickets and charitable support for the New West Symphony, Rubicon Theater, and Metropolitan Opera Simulcasts. Lila was a voracious reader and was a member of a book club for many years. She belonged to museums all over the world and read their magazines cover to cover. She was a collector of post cards, particularly vintage cards of Ventura County, Long Beach, and Hawai'i (where she lived and taught for a year right after college). If she knew you were travelling, or going to thrift stores, she lovingly insisted that you look for postcards for her.

Lila was actively involved in service to the community. She supported a vast number of charitable/arts organizations and causes. She was passionate about population control and was a very generous supporter of Planned Parenthood. She was a treasured docent at the Ventura County Museum, and venerated member of her beloved local Altrusa service club since 1947. In both capacities, she always supported all fundraisers and projects with both her time and resources. As docent, she archived the Museum's Ventura County postcard collection.

Lila was wickedly funny and always curious as to what one was up to. To know Lila was to love her, and she had the gift of making everyone feel special and loved. She loved children and never forgot a birthday of a neighbor or her chosen "grandchildren." Lila was a paragon of the well lived life. She was a model of how to balance service and charity, with complete immersion in all of the pleasures life had to offer, including but not limited to: travel, literature, good food/drink, opera, symphony, art, theater, parties, lifelong learning, and most of all: friends and loved ones.

Lila is survived by cousins: Patricia Denton, Dorothy Breaux, Sharon Combs, Dena Ramirez, Sonya Walker, and Lorraine Lake. As chosen family member of the John and Bonnie Lander Family, she is "Aunt" Lila to three generations of Landers and is survived by Phil Brudie, Lura Clark, Nancy Lander, Ann Daigle, Jane Wilkes, Mark Robinson, Rudy Martin, Kathy Julian, and numerous great nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, Lila would want donations sent to San Buenaventura Altrusa Club, Food Share, or the Santa Paula Agricultural Museum.

In lieu of a memorial, an open house will be held at a future date when it is again safe to gather.

Published by Ventura County Star from Nov. 4 to Nov. 15, 2020.
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5 Entries
Lila was a great lady, wonderful friend, and a fantastic mentor. Linda and I and our kids will always be indebted to her.
Dick and Linda Dean
November 15, 2020
My Condolences To Lila’s Family & Friends.
Caren Harrison Carlson
November 14, 2020
Never to be forgotten; Lila and her "posse".

Lila, you and mom are now taking that next voyage that you and she talked about in August on her birthday. Safe and blessed journey. We will miss you as we miss mom.
Bethe Sullivan
November 14, 2020
I met Lila when she was a docent at the Ventura County Museum. I loved working with her. She was so smart, easy to talk to and generous with her time. She will be missed.
Elizabeth Soriano
November 8, 2020
I loved working for Lila. She was a great supporter of me in so many ways and the Leo birthday lunches she threw were always a blast. I loved you and may this next journey be as joyful as you were in this life you lived.
Robert Huff
November 7, 2020
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