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Activist Phoebe Ann Whipple dies at 71

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Sunday, at Bluebird

Park for multi-talented Laguna Beach native Phoebe Ann Whipple. Ms.

Whipple died July 12, 2002, due to complications from subdural

bleeding. She was 71.

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“She was an artist, actress, mother, activist, registered nurse

and a wonderful cook,” daughter Liza Stewart said.

There were no hospitals in Laguna Beach when Ms. Whipple was born

Sept. 28, 1930 to Elizabeth and Arthur Whipple, artists and

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publishers of the Laguna Beach magazine, “The Racket,” in the 1930s.

They brought their baby daughter home straight from Newport Beach

Hospital to their Diamond Street home. Ms. Whipple spent most of the

rest of her life in town, honing her varied talents.

Ms. Whipple graduated from Laguna Beach High School in 1948. She

ran for school president at a time when women did not do that sort of

thing and came close to winning.

“She was way ahead of her time,” her daughter said. “Rather than

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teaching my sister and me how to do our hair, she taught us how to be

good people, involved in our community.”

Ms. Whipple married her first husband, Daniel Leroy Shull II, at

age 18. They lived in a small shack by Thalia Street Beach where they

had only cold running water and had to cross the street to use the

restroom at the gas station. They loved beach activities, including

tandem surfing.

The young couple moved to the Marshall Islands in 1950, where she

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taught English to the islanders. They returned to California when

they learned she was pregnant. She gave birth to her first son in Los

Angeles.

The Shulls divorced in 1952 and Ms. Whipple moved into a Laguna

Beach apartment with her infant son.

Ms. Whipple’s second husband was cartoonist Phil Interlandi, who

died June 26.

They met in 1953 when Ms. Whipple was auditioning at the Laguna

Playhouse.

“He gave her some suggestions,” said their daughter.

Apparently, they were good ones. Two years later, Ms. Whipple won

the Laguna Beach Community Players Victor Award for best supporting

actress

The couple married on New Years Eve, 1954 in Las Vegas. They were

Laguna’s A list couple. To be friends with the Interlandis, it was

said, was to in the “in” crowd.

The Interlandis had three children before divorcing in 1967.

While still married, Ms. Whipple exhibited her paintings at the

Laguna Beach Festival of Arts and painted some of the backgrounds for

the Pageant of the Masters. In 1959, she met the late actress Bette

Davis while serving as art director for the pageant. The sons of the

two women played together while their mothers worked.

Ms. Whipple was an activist for low cost housing and civil rights.

She was a member of Village Laguna early on.

After the Interlandis divorced, she started to work at the

Fairview State Hospital, later taking advantage of a state

scholarship program for nurse’s training. She graduated from

Saddleback Community College and received her license as a registered

nurse in the spring of 1973, while raising her four children

virtually on her own, family members said.

Ms. Whipple willed her body to UCLA for medical research. She felt

that money spent on a burial or cremation could be better spent to

further the knowledge of the medical community, a family spokesperson

said.

Ms. Whipple is survived by her sister, Judy Sinisgalli of Laguna

Beach; two sons, Daniel L. Shull and Joseph P. Interlandi both of

Laguna Beach; daughter Carla Armstrong and her husband, Dennis, of

Capistrano Beach; and daughter Liza I. Stewart and her husband,

Steven, of Laguna Beach.

The family plans to plant a tree in her memory. In lieu of

flowers, contributions can be made to a tree fund. Donations may be

sent to McDonnell Business Services, in care of Phoebe Whipple, 355

Third St., Laguna Beach 92651.

-- Barbara Diamond


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