San Clemente Matriarch Lois Driscoll Divel died on Friday, Nov. 3, at the age of 95, the San Clemente Historical Society confirmed with San Clemente Times this week.
The local organization wrote about the impactful town figure in its November newsletter, noting that Divel had become a founding member of the Historical Society in 1973, 35 years after she moved to the city at the age of 10.
From then, Divel grew to love San Clemente’s historical homes and landmarks. She served as a board member for the Historical Society for 26 years, earning the city’s Citizen of the Year Award in 2004, the Historical Society’s title of Matriarch in 2006 and the Ole Hanson Award in 2021.
“As we reflect on the legacy of Lois Divel, it is clear that her efforts have had a lasting impact on our community,” the Historical Society wrote. “Her dedication to San Clemente’s rich history and architectural heritage has left an indelible mark, ensuring that future generations can continue to appreciate and be inspired by the past. It is with great sadness that the San Clemente Historical Society mourns the loss of Lois, a truly remarkable individual.”
San Clemente Mayor Chris Duncan spoke of Divel’s importance to the city and expressed his condolences to the Divel family.
“This is the passing of a legend that has personally been an integral part of the fabric of San Clemente, and we cannot express in words how critical she’s been to making San Clemente the wonderful place that it is today,” he said. “This is a mournful time, but at the same time, we should be celebrating the richness that she has brought to our town.”
Duncan recalled attending an event several years ago at the San Clemente Community Center, where Divel was present, and answering people’s questions about events that occurred more than half a century ago with impressive clarity.
“I remember her as sharp as a tack, with an encyclopedic memory of key events in San Clemente history,” he added. “You can’t replace that.”
Mayor Pro Tem Steve Knoblock also commented on Divel’s death.
“We grieve for her passing,” he said. “I’m delighted to have known her and her family, and they’ve been a blessing to San Clemente in many ways. Her family members continue to be important leaders in our community.”
In a Facebook post, Divel’s niece, Kelle Marie Stavron, posted of her aunt’s passing. Stavron wrote about how Divel was a role model and an encouraging person.
“Thank you Aunt Lois for being such a beautiful example of a woman of grace and love,” Stavron wrote. “You have filled my heart’s thoughts with your beautiful wisdom.”