Karen Loeblich was born in 1944. Both of her parents were professors at UCLA, She had two younger sisters and three daughters of her own.
The Loeblichs lived in the Golden Hill neighborhood of Fullerton, on Lemon Hill Terrace, I believe.
We’ll call her Elizabeth, the name she preferred in later years. She was a member of the Class of 1962, the Founders. Elizabeth was an honors student and one of the brightest individuals ever to attend Sunny Hills High School.
She attended the University of California, Berkeley, and then at her parents’ insistence, transferred to UCLA. Later she said they were probably worried about her being in the middle of the unrest at Berkeley, where the Free Speech Movement had begun, joining the Civil Rights Movement and the growing opposition to United States involvement in Vietnam.
Elizabeth earned a doctorate in zoology, and became a specialist in entomology, the study of insects. She spent her teaching career at UC Davis, and she was one of the first women in her field.
She died on June 17, 2023. I don’t know the cause.
I met Elizabeth around 2002 when the SPOON began. Several times over the coming years, I went to lunch or dinner with her and her girls. She was charming company, erudite in a wide range of subjects, and very witty. She had a droll sense of humor, and a kind, soft heart.
One time we all drove up to UCLA because flags would be lowered in an official ceremony to honor her parents, who had died a few years earlier. Elizabeth watched the ceremony with deep feeling and tears in her eyes, for she loved her parents dearly, She was a loyal daughter to the end.
In the last ten or fifteen years of her life, Elizabeth moved several times to economize, first to Charleston, South Carolina and then to Wheeling, West Virginia. I kept up with her as well as possible by email, and her witty messages were often priceless.
One of her features was an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the animal kingdom. She had all the knowledge at her fingertips, and she both loved and respected all creatures. She often took my questions and corrected my fanciful speculations:
She might write, with professorial patience: “No. The ring-tailed bandicoat does not eat chipmunks. They are vegetarians and subsist on nuts, berries, herbs and leaves of the billbao tree.” [I made that one up!]
She was a kick, a lot of fun always, and warm, decent, kind woman. She was a Roman Catholic and several times we went to Mass together. I’ve been missing her, and I miss her now.
Maybe we’ll find an obituary, and maybe Elizabeth’s Lancer friends can add to this tribute.
Thanks to Elizabeth's classmate and lifelong friend, Marge Wallace Vickrey, '62, who sent the news.