Obituary: Leah Naomi Horowitz
Outdoor enthusiast, athlete, electronics whiz
Leah Naomi Horowitz was born June 21, 1983 in Pasadena to Marci and Larry Horowitz. She grew up in Claremont, attending Sycamore Elementary, El Roble Intermediate School and graduating from Claremont High School in 2001.
Leah had a deep reverence for life and was in awe of the natural beauty and wonder of the world around her. Even as a very young child she would comment on the beauty of the sun’s rays emanating from beyond the clouds. As a child, she loved dinosaurs, archeology and Egyptian history. She loved to dig in the dirt, play in the mud, climb trees and sit on the roof to ponder life.
At El Roble, Leah discovered woodworking, metalworking, science, math, cross country and extreme biking. She also became involved in Civil Air Patrol and was an avid rock climber. Leah developed a love of running. She was determined to become a varsity athlete at Claremont High and committed to lettering in every sport she decided to try. She met every goal.
While at CHS, Ms. Horowitz was actively involved with the athletics program excelling in cross country, track and pole vaulting, all the while maintaining grades to qualify as scholar-athlete at Claremont High. She was affectionately known as “Animal” due to her ferocious determination and perseverance. She also set one of the CHS records for pole vaulting.
As a scholar-athlete, Ms. Horowitz headed to Fresno State after graduating from CHS where she walked on to the Fresno State track and field team. Here she was known as “Packy,” since she practiced with a heavy backpack to continue to build her upper body strength and endurance as a pole vaulter and a runner. She eventually returned to southern California where she continued her track activities and completed her bachelor of science in nutrition at Cal State Los Angeles.
Ms. Horowitz remained active after graduation. She enjoyed rock climbing, bicycling, roller blading and kayaking for relaxation. She became involved with the Prison City Derby Dames roller derby in Chino and skated for a season as a jammer (Squint) for the team. She joined Toastmasters International where she honed her public speaking skills, and was an active member of COPE Health Scholars, first as a volunteer and then becoming a training coordinator.
After discovering a career in nutrition was not for her, Ms. Horowitz enrolled at Mt. San Antonio College’s electronics program. She loved to work with her mind and her hands. She always had a knack for putting things together, as well as taking things apart, and found electronics a skill that challenged her creativity and her puzzle solving abilities.
Ms. Horowitz became a teaching assistant in the electronics department at Mt. SAC, coaching other students with their studies. She eventually became the parts room manager for the electronics department. Her talent in electronics was recognized when she entered the Skills USA competition and, in 2012, went on to represent the state of California at the national competition in Kansas City, Missouri.
Fate smiled down on Leah while at Mt. SAC; a representative from Southern California Edison saw her in action with the other students and was impressed by her abilities. He suggested she apply for an internship with the company. Ms. Horowitz competed with 500 other applicants for 10 openings and was hired by SCE in 2012.
She began her work with SCE on a construction team in the telecom portion of the company and eventually landed a training coordinator’s position. It was in this position that Ms. Horowitz could truly use all her knowledge talent and skills. As a field technician, she had experienced the successes and challenges of working with the various teams at Edison. She used her skills as a coach to bring different groups together, finding common ground and shared goals to optimize the talents of individuals and teams for the benefit of the organization. She continued as a member of the Electronics and Computer Department Advisory Committee for Mt. SAC, where her input and ideas helped improve the retention and success rates of students in the program.
Leah lived life passionately and courageously. While she had a tough exterior, she was very sensitive and caring. She was deeply committed to issues related to equality and social justice.
Ms. Horowitz was a no-nonsense person and she was not afraid to speak up. She was highly respected and treated everyone with respect. While she was greatly admired, she was humble and focused on the needs of others.
She was affected by those she met, and she affected all with whom she interacted. She truly had a gift of bringing people together, helping them explore diverse perspectives of an issue, helping them find a shared vision and goals for the common good. Ms. Horowitz always looked out for the team members, the group or the organization without expectation of recognition in return. Her reward was a collective job well done.
Ms. Horowitz died unexpectedly on June 25, 2018. She is survived by her parents, Marci and Larry Horowitz of Claremont; her sisters Sara (partner Shawn Michaelson, and their daughters Hailey and Alisia Michaelson) and Rebekkah (husband, Marcus Epstein, and their son, Nathan Lee Epstein); grandparents Rachel and Jerry Luxenburg and Shirlee Horowitz; and many aunts, uncles and cousins around the United States.
“She possessed a unique and special soul,” her family shared. “Leah was one of a kind. She will be greatly missed but her love and spirit will live on in those who had the privilege of knowing and loving her.”
Services were held on July 2, 2018 at Hillside Memorial Park in Los Angeles. Remembrances may be made at https://www.hillsidememorial.org/obituaries/leah-naomi-horowitz/2291/.
As a proud Mt. SAC alumna, a strong advocate for women in science and technology and a valued member of the Electronics and Computer Technology Department Advisory Committee, donations in remembrance of Ms. Horowitz can be made to the department by visiting givetomtsac.org. The program is the fourth option on the pull-down menu of gift designations.