'Kit' worked to help others

'Our community has been enriched by the active participation of Kit Drollinger,' friend says.

October 21, 2010

Gertrude "Kit" Drollinger, who spent her life working to better the lives of others, died Oct. 9, two days shy of her 84th birthday.

"Our community has been enriched by the active participation of Kit Drollinger over the last third of a century," said Jean Raun, a friend and fellow member of the League of Women Voters. "Kit held deep convictions about civil liberties, equal rights, protection of the environment and social justice. She spent her life acting on those convictions."

Kit dove into community activities as soon as she and her husband, Ed, moved to Laguna in 1976, continuing her participation in the League of Women Voters begun when the couple and their two daughters moved to Orange County in 1968.


A past president of the Coast League, she continued to devote time to the larger group as well as the Laguna Beach unit. Her husband is a member of the league. Both were devoted to league goals.

"When the [1993] fire destroyed much of Mystic Hills, as a last act when they were leaving their home, she returned to pick up the League Records she was keeping for her job as dues secretary," Raun said.

"She was involved in two important studies for Laguna Beach. One was the study which resulted in a voluntary spending-limit for council elections — a decision which was gutted by a later board. The second was a detailed study of Treasure Island and its conversion from a Trailer Park to its present state, a combination of public space and hotel use."

Soon after moving to Laguna, Kit volunteered her services to the Laguna Beach Library, which was converting its card catalogue to computers. She worked in the Friends of the Library book store as long as her health allowed.

The Drollingers were founding members of the Great Parks Conservancy and belonged to the Orange County Community Foundation, American Civil Liberties Union, the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People, the Laguna Canyon Conservancy, Laguna Beach Democratic Club, as well as the league.

Gertrude Elseroad Drollinger was born Oct. 11, 1926 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the eldest child and only daughter in the family. She had three younger brothers, one of whom died at age 6.

She became "Kit" when just a baby.

Her father looked at her and said she looks like a little kitten, and "Kit" she was from then on.

Even close friends like Raun didn't know her real first name.

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