Obituary: Marcia Goldstein

Great-grandmother, former Claremont city administrator, master gardener, traveler.
Marcia Goldstein, former director of community services and longtime Claremont resident, died October 19 in Laguna Woods, California, under the care of hospice and with family by her side. The cause of her death was metastatic breast cancer. She was 79 years old.

Marcia was born in Quantico, Virginia to Philip W. and Helen M. Slocum on February 18, 1942. Her father was a career marine who participated in World War II and the Korean War. The family moved frequently, and she felt her whole life was shaped by his service until he retired in 1957. She recounted for family that she lived in 18 houses in six states and the Territory of Hawaii and went to 15 schools before she was in the 12th grade, 10 of them before the sixth grade.

She graduated from Santa Ana High School in 1960. She went on to U.C. Santa Barbara for her freshman year, becoming the first person in her family to go to college, then transferred to U.C. Berkeley (Cal). She graduated in 1964 with a degree in social science and minor in anthropology. She had a student job keypunching and sorting surveys for university researchers. After graduation she became a social worker for Contra Costa County.

In the fall of 1963, at the beginning of her senior year, Marcia met Lee Goldstein, who had come to Cal to attend the school of optometry.

“Maybe it was because Lee had a car and Berkeley was an exciting place in the 1960s, or that they were members of the ‘Silent Generation’ and did ‘what they were supposed to do,’ but their love for each other quickly developed and they were married on December 27, 1964, during university holiday vacation,” her family shared.

The young couple returned to Southern California after Lee’s graduation in 1966. Their son Carey was born in July 1966 and daughter, Emily, in November 1968. She did not work when the children were young, but did volunteer at Planned Parenthood and was a member of the Pomona Community Life Commission. The family moved to Claremont in 1975, living on San Fernando Court for 31 years surrounded by friendly and cooperative neighbors. It was a wonderful place to live and raise children.

She was in the first class at the University of Southern California School of Gerontology, earning an MS degree in December 1978. She began work as the human services supervisor for the city of Montclair and was hired in 1981 as community liaison officer for the city of Claremont.

Her self-discipline and skills in organization, communication, and non-confrontational decision-making became evident with each work assignment. In 1984 she was named director of the Claremont Human Services Department and later director of community services when the departments were merged. She was very proud that she could very ably manage a department that was responsible for Claremont’s parks, street maintenance, sewers, waste management, youth, and senior’s programs as well as several city commissions.

First diagnosed and treated for breast cancer in 1989, she continued her work for Claremont until she retired in February 1995. Along with being a part-time office administrator for Dr. Goldstein, she was a dedicated grandmother and engaged volunteer at the California Botanic Garden. Utilizing the Garden’s educational resources and opportunities, she achieved a thorough understanding of botany and native plants. Growing plants became a new career. She served as a docent and in volunteer leadership positions at the Botanic Garden and served two terms on the board of Mt. San Antonio Gardens.

In 2006, the couple moved to “Goldstein Ranch” in Three Rivers, California, adjacent to Sequoia National Park. It was her favorite place to live, a wilder place in the oak woodland, frequented by many birds and animals, and with a great view of the high Sierra. There was more opportunity for quiet time: reading a book, doing a crossword, or making a list. She had a wonderful time propagating and growing native plants on their property. She was accepted to the program and became a master gardener in the U.C. program for Tulare and Kings counties. Many close friendships and collaborations were developed with fellow Three Rivers residents. It was a popular place for family to visit. The couple returned to Southern California in 2018 to be closer family and specialty health care.

She felt very lucky to have been able to travel throughout the U.S. and much of the world, and to have had many diverse travel experiences from four-wheeling in the desert to attending the Olympics. African trips and motor home travel were her most memorable.

“But more than anything else, she was immensely proud of her children and grandchildren,” her family shared, “all hard working, intelligent and, most importantly, good, and caring people.”
She is survived by her husband, Lee; their children (and spouses) Carey Goldstein (Laura Ramirez); Emily Strange (Michael); grandchildren Elizabeth Bouldin (William) and Katherine Gwaltney; great-granddaughter Blaire Bouldin; step-grandchildren Sarah Strange and Meredith Evans (Connor); and brother Philip R. Slocum.

Memorial contributions may be made to the California Botanic Garden at, or by check to 1500 N. College Ave, Claremont, CA 91711; or City of Hope Cancer Center at, or by check to 1500 E. Duarte Rd, Duarte, CA 91010.



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