Marina del Rey resident Mary Jean Pew, who served as Jerry Brown’s assistant campaign manager in his first run for governor and was Brown’s first appointee to the California State University Board of Trustees, has died. She was 82.
Pew passed away at her home Sept. 28 after a long battle with lung cancer and other illnesses.
The county Board of Supervisors adjourned its meeting Oct. 2 in memory of Pew, a former foreperson of the Los Angeles County Grand Jury.
“She will be remembered as an extraordinary woman who had passion, insight and wisdom,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “She distinguished herself in any number of ways.”
Pew, who had been a history and government professor, academic vice president and acting president of Immaculate Heart College in Hollywood before the school closed in 1980, was a Catholic nun for 19 years. After leaving the order in 1968, Pew continued her academic work and began assisting Brown.
“Mary Jean has been a friend for more than 40 years,” Brown said in Sacramento. “She was an
extraordinary woman of passion and insight. Everything she put her mind to, she made better.”
Pew married her husband, City News Service President Douglas Faigin, in 1972. The couple, who has lived in Marina del Rey for nine years, would have been married 40 years in December.
Pew was head of the political science department of Immaculate Heart College when Brown, then a young member of the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees, spoke to a gathering of students. He asked Pew to find students who would volunteer for his upcoming run for California secretary of state in 1970. Pew provided a number of students and became a volunteer herself.
Just after Brown took office for the first time as California governor in 1975, he appointed her to the college board that oversees all the campuses of the CSU system, then known as the California State University and Colleges. She served for seven years before she and her husband moved to Steamboat Springs, Colo., where together they operated the local radio stations they purchased.
After returning to California in 1985, Pew was named foreperson of the Los Angeles County Grand Jury, a post she held for the one-year full-time term.
Pew earned her undergraduate degree from Immaculate Heart and her doctorate from Fordham University in New York.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:45 a.m. Friday, Oct. 5 at St. Gregory’s Catholic Church, 900 S. Bronson Ave., in the Mid-City area. Burial will follow at 2:15 p.m. at the Holy Cross Cemetery, 5835 W. Slauson Ave., Culver City.
In addition to her husband, Pew is survived by sisters Sheila Albert of Santa Rosa and Jean Tyacke of Johannesburg, South Africa, and numerous nephews,nieces and their children.