La Jolla backer of the arts dies at 92

Rita Bronowski, vivacious artist and theater supporter, died Sept. 2, 2010. The longtime resident of La Jolla, who spent her final years in Pacific Palisades, was two weeks shy of her 93rd birthday.

She was the widow of Jacob Bronowski, who died in 1974.

Born into an orthodox Jewish family in London, England, she was one of five children of Benjamin Coblentz and Celia Kreeger Coblentz. She showed an early aptitude for drawing and sculpture; at age 14 she won a scholarship to attend St. Martins College of Art. She married Jacob Bronowski in 1941 and the couple’s first two children were born during Jacob’s service in World War II.

In 1964, the Bronowskis moved from London to La Jolla at the invitation of Jonas Salk. Bronowski became a founding fellow of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and his wife became active in the arts community. She was most involved in theater, working with Theater Five, The Old Globe Theater and the La Jolla Playhouse.

Mrs. Bronowski became a founding member of the “new” La Jolla Playhouse, which she helped revive, beginning when its summer home was in the auditorium of La Jolla High School. She was an admired leader of the Playhouse and remained, until her death, an emeritus member of its governing board.

Rita Bronowski was featured on San Diego’s KPBS television where she provided commentary to the broadcast of her husband’s highly successful BBC documentary series, “The Ascent of Man.”

She was a founding member of the Salk Institute Art & Science Forum, which was recently renamed in honor of Jacob and Rita to the Bronowski Art & Science Forum.

She was an active leader in the San Diego English Speaking Union where, for many years, she organized the Shakespeare Competition for high school students. She was a member of the Charter 100 Club in La Jolla and was honored by that organization as Woman-of-the-Year. In 2007, Rita won the Star Award, the San Diego Performing Arts League’s annual tribute to outstanding volunteers.

She is survived by her four daughters and their families: Lisa Jardine and John Hare; Judith Bronowski and Grant Loucks; Nicole Bronowski Plett and Jay Plett; and Clare Bronowski and Jeff Lee. She is survived by eight grandchildren, Daniel Jardine, Rachel Jardine, Sam Hare, Kin Plett, Jacob Plett, Julia Loucks, Tessa Lee, and Abby Lee; and twin great-granddaughters, Zoe and Freya Jardine.

A memorial for Rita will take place in La Jolla, California, at a later date to be announced.

The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations in her name be made to the La Jolla Playhouse, P.O. Box 12039, La Jolla, CA 92039.

SOURCE: Press Release