Art show pays tribute to local artist, former teacher

The Women Artist Event on Sunday at the Laguna Beach Woman's Club was a tribute to Liz Malloy, a local artist and club member who died in August. She was 66.

Malloy co-chaired the club events for the past five years, helping others develop their talents as she had done while working as a teacher and in the telecommunications industry. She also helped provide a venue for the event, which gives women a chance to show off their artistic talents and sell their handmade wares.

Under her leadership, the event reached new heights and the proceeds of the silent auction of items donated by participating artists helped fund a scholarship for local students at Laguna College of Art & Design.

A jeweler with an eye for diverse combinations, Malloy created one-of-a-kind pieces and lived a one-of-a-kind life.

Malloy was born May 16, 1946, in Philadelphia. She moved to Laguna Beach in 1980 and taught at almost every school in town as a substitute. Her only child, James Malloy, graduated from Laguna Beach High School in 1984.

"He was her staunchest ally, her pride, her joy and the person she treasured most," said Robin Pierson, a close friend of Malloy's for 30 years.

Malloy courageously battled for her life after she was diagnosed with cancer and bravely faced her death when the doctors told her they could do no more for her, Pierson said.

Friends said she put her finances in order, cataloged her jewelry to be sold at future fundraisers, distributed her tools to those who most needed them, organized her sock drawer and called the mortuary.

"As she drifted towards death this summer, there were many green flash sunsets, piercing beams of neon green, aqua light, glowing for a moment then gone with the sun," Pierson said.

She compared Malloy to a green flash sunset: brilliant, beautiful and subtle.

Many people don't see the green flashes, fleeting and unexpected as they are and if you didn't pay attention, you might have missed Malloy's special qualities, according to Pierson.

"While her external beauty, grace and dignity were always on display, it was her inner wisdom that spoke to those who listened," Pierson said. "Her counsel touched many and her humor in hard times and good, always found its way into a conversation."

Pierson related the story of a friend who sat by Malloy as she lay dying, promising they would see each other again in another life or in another time.

"You better be wearing one of your pieces of jewelry so I can recognize you," Malloy said.

In lieu of flowers, Malloy wanted her friends to reach out to their families and friends and let them know how much they are loved and appreciated.

"It is the simplest, yet most generous gift," said her son.

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