June 4, 1933 – August 1, 2021
Beloved wife, mother, and grandmother; devoted friend; skilled social worker; passionate advocate for women without housing; and long-time Palisadian Darlene Lasher passed away on August 1 peacefully at her family home.
Palisades resident since 1966, Darlene was involved in local historic movements such as Arts in Action, the UFW grape boycott and Operation Bootstrap. She treasured her friends and neighbors.
Born in Los Angeles to Richard F. and Eleanor Walker Dwyer, Darlene attended the Marlborough School and then UCLA; she worked at UniCamp and for the University Religious Conference, where she met her future husband Allan Lasher.
After receiving her MSW, Darlene worked as a counselor in underserved communities and for the Superior Court supervising child advocacy. Subsequently she worked at the Ocean Park Community Center, the largest social service provider on the west side of LA.
In 1987, she helped found and run Daybreak, a shelter for homeless, mentally ill women. She later joined the Board of Directors of OPCC (now The People Concern).
Darlene was recognized by the California Senate for community service and received the 1995 Public Citizen of the Year award from the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Together with Al, she served as director of a charitable foundation, the Dwyer Fund.
Darlene was also skilled in letterpress printing and an accomplished, published poet whose poems and handmade books reflect her compassionate imagination, as well as her love of the arts.
Darlene valued friendship and each of her wonderful friends. She will be remembered for her genuine good will, her groundedness, her buoyant spirit, her love of the ocean and passion for swimming, her beaded necklaces, and her dimpled smile.
She was preceded in death by her husband Al and her sister Nancy Appleton. She is survived by her children Susan (husband Chris) and Michael (partner Evonne); her beloved grandchildren Luke and Robin Lasher (mother Anna) and Claire Pfister; her niece Laurie Schmid (husband Mark) and nephew Greg Jacobs; sister-in-law Carole Greene; godchildren Julie Adams, George Ostrow (mother Judy), and Laura Overton (mother VBF Lynne Rohrer).
In recent years, Darlene was supported by a team of brilliant helpers and caregivers who reflected her values and proved that compassion is a gift. Darlene kept this quotation by George Eliot at hand: “What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”
Darlene would encourage any donations to be made to the Westside Family Health Center, The People Concern, Safe Place for Youth or Venice Community Housing.
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