Monrovia Loses Another Gem: Charlotte Schamadan

Charlotte Schamadan’s leaves behind a strong legacy in Monrovia. - Courtesy photo
Charlotte Schamadan’s leaves behind a strong legacy in Monrovia. – Courtesy photo

By Susan Motander

Monrovia is known as the Gem City of the Foothills, but in many respects the gems are her many dedicated and involved residents. Sadly, on the Friday before Christmas the community lost Charlotte Schamadan when she lost her almost decade long battle with sinus cancer and other health issues.

Charlotte was not a native Monrovian but moved here from Alhambra in 1979 and immediately adopted her new hometown. As one of her good friends Joanne Spring explained: “Charlotte Schamadan loved Monrovia! Monrovia loved Charlotte Schamadan! This highly public consensual love affair was a win/win relationship that benefited both more than those of us who witnessed it will ever fully comprehend.”

Despite being deaf Charlotte was unstoppable. She became involved in election campaigns, chairing many of them over the years. Locally she was involved with the Quota Club (even serving as the International President of that Organization), Monrovia Historic Preservation Group, The Monrovia Education Foundation, Monrovia Guild of Children’s Hospital, Foothill Unity Center (serving several terms as president), and Foothill Developmental School. All this and she found time to serve on the local cable commission and at least two Chamber of Commerce committees.

Years ago she was one of the members of the Centennial Committee to celebrate Monrovia’s 100th birthday in 1986. Out of this grew the Monrovia Historical Museum Foundation when the members of the Centennial Committee felt something permanent was needed.

Likely as a result of her own hearing challenges, Charlotte was a strong supporter of the House Ear Institute. This non-profit is dedicated to advancing hearing science working with researchers, and educating those in need of assistance.

Charlotte also became involved in election campaigns, chairing many of them over the years. Most of her campaigns were successful, unfortunately not her own in 2000 when she ran for City Council. Perhaps, her greatest legacy is her work in 2006 on the Measure L and M campaigns, bond measures that lead respectively to the new Monrovia Public Library being built and Monrovia High School being updated in substantial ways.

As a result of these activities she became very close friends with former Monrovia Superintendent of School Louise K. Taylor, for whom the completely renovated performing arts center at the high school was named. Part of the Measure M funds went to that refurbishment.

Taylor added these thoughts about her friend: “Charlotte Schamadan has contributed to our Monrovia schools and the Monrovia community in countless ways. Her influence can be found in virtually every major development since she made Monrovia her home. At the pinnacle of the gifts she left Monrovia is her enduring commitment to noble values and her unwavering support for those whose efforts focused on Monrovia’s success rather than personal power or gain. She holds a permanent place [in] the hearts of those, like me, fortunate enough to call her friend.”

Others also wanted to add a few words in praise of Charlotte: “It’s hard to imagine Monrovia without the presence of a Charlotte. She was a true community treasure, and Monrovia was enriched by her work and dedication in its behalf.” Jim Starbird, a former Monrovia city manager, wrote.

“Charlotte left her mark on the community,” said Mayor Tom Adams. Adding, “It is hard to lose anyone important, but especially hard at the holidays. I want to ask the community to keep Lee Schamadan in their thoughts and prayers at this time.”

Her husband Lee wishes to hold services on Charlotte’s birthday on Jan 19 at a time to be announced. Services are still pending and will be noted here as soon as the family lets this publication know.


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