Former Newport mayor remembered for her charitable nature

NEWPORT BEACH — Former Newport Beach Mayor Doreen Demond Marshall died of natural causes at her home Nov. 9.

The longtime Lido Isle resident, who served on the City Council for nearly a decade, was also known for her charitable contributions. She was 88.

Marshall was born Doreen Demond on Dec. 22, 1922, in Los Angeles to Earle Frank Demond and Lucile Long Demond. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA, where she was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. Marshall also did post-graduate work at Columbia University.

After spending time in New York City, Marshall returned to Southern California and married Robert "Bob" J. Marshall, who also attended UCLA. The two married in Santa Ana shortly after Bob Marshall returned from serving in World War II.

The two lived for a time at Bob Marshall's Tustin home among orange groves, which he farmed. They later sold the land and moved to Lido Isle in Newport Harbor.

Marshall served on the City Council from 1962 to 1970, spending 1968 to 1970 as mayor. She also was an active volunteer and member of several civic and charitable organizations. In 2010, she was invited to join the Pacific Chorale Board of Directors, which she served on until her death.

"She always wanted to be the invisible hand," said her brother Frank Demond, 78, who added that in the past few weeks he's still finding out through his sister's associates the little things she did. "She never boasted, she was super honest … my dad had amazing integrity and she did, too. She would never go along with any foolishness."

During her time as mayor, she oversaw the inaugural helicopter surveillance for the city in 1970, said Jan Landstrom, who met Marshall in 1968 through the Irvine Master Chorale, which later became the Pacific Chorale. Marshall's husband, Bob, sang with the group.

She was also known for her morning swims in the bay next to her home. She loved sailing the local waters, and counted Disneyland, music and traveling as other favorites.

Marshall also received the city's Citizen of the Year award.

After her husband died in 1993, Marshall took several road trips alone.

"She would take off by herself for 11 to 12 weeks and go cross-country, visit friends, historical places, museums," Landstrom said. "She was always on a quest for more information. She enjoyed life so much … she was a great friend."

Her favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. She was known for her specialty, persimmon pudding, according to Demond.

Marshall, the eldest of four children, grew close with her brother while she served in public office. Demond built homes in the area, and the two often attended various events together.

Her love of music translated into her involvement with the Pacific Chorale, something that was close to her heart. Having bought her outfit, Marshall had hoped to attend the gala for Pacific Chorale artistic director John Alexander on Nov. 6. Sadly, Marshall couldn't make it.

"She was a model board member and citizen," said Kelly Ruggirello, Pacific Chorale president. "She will be sorely missed by everyone here … She was a close family member for a lot of us.

"Even during these hard economic times, she would contact us and ask, 'How are you doing?', and 'Do you need any assistance?' She wanted to make sure Pacific Chorale was strong, and people like that are rare gems in the community."

While working for the Police Department, Evelyn Hart, another former mayor and councilwoman, first met Marshall.

"She was the only council member back then to [physically] check in on us," Hart said. "I always admired her for being so hands-on as a councilwoman and mayor. She was a great person to have helped our city. Of course, we will all miss her."

Former Assemblywoman Marian Bergeson met Marshall, who was then mayor, while she served on Newport-Mesa Unified's school board.

"Doreen really was a terrific civic pioneer when it came to fashioning Newport from a resort community to a residential territory," said Bergeson, who added that so much of what's seen today in Newport Beach can be attributed to Marshall.

She was surrounded by loved ones when she passed, said Demond, who noted that a wonderful transformation happened: All of the people who loved Marshall came together and got to know each other and, in a way, celebrate her life.

After reading three verses of the book of Psalms in the Bible, she died peacefully, he said.

Marshall is survived by Demond and his wife, Christy; her sister Joan Demond; nephews Ted and Jackson Demond; nieces Bailey Demond Slater (and her husband Michael) and Johanna Pearson; and cousin Cleo Cole.

She is also remembered by close friends Peter Hohl, Godson Toby Hohl, Genevieve Valdez and Jerry Greer.

She was preceded in death by her sister, Elaine Demond.

There will be no services, her family said. In lieu of flowers, they are asking for donations to be made in her memory to the Marshalls' fund at the Orange County Community Foundation, their scholarship fund at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, or to the Pacific Chorale.

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