Barbara Turner Sachs

Barbara Turner Sachs, 79, passed away peacefully in Santa Barbara, California, after a brief illness. Born Barbara Turner in Chicago, Illinois, to Justin G. Turner and Gertrude Levin Turner, she was raised in Los Angeles and graduated from Scripps College. After raising three sons, she worked for many years as a television and film executive at ABC and Paramount Pictures. She also co-edited with Beryl Barr The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook( Contact Editions, 1961), still a favorite among cookbook collectors, and wrote the Jazz Age novel The Rainbow Box (Congden & Weed, 1984). Mademoiselle called the novel “Remarkable, electrically charged.”

After moving from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara in the late ‘80s, she taught writing at Santa Barbara Community College and tasked her students to write 5-minute plays with clarity so crisp it would stand out “like a tarantula on a slice of angel food cake” and later, turning her home into a classroom, continuing her instruction surrounded by devoted students. Parallel in her life was the importance of social justice causes. Serving on the board of the Casa de la Raza, she was an advocate and fundraiser, becoming active in the annual Martin Luther King Day celebration which this year was dedicated in her honor. She also joined the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, where she found like-minded and lifelong friends.

She moved to the Vista del Monte retirement community in 2015, where she became known as the “little person with the BIG personality,” and with a friend, spearheaded the annual employee gift fund to raise some $90,000 for staff and their families as a last act of generosity. In her own words “I’ve loved the world, and what I wish for you is peace. Simply peace.”

She is preceded in death by her son, Jeffery Sachs, and her brother, Paul S. Turner, and is survived by her son Jonathan Sachs of Los Angeles, and son Jason Sachs and daughter-in-law Elif Soyer Sachs of Somerville, Massachusetts. She was a wonderful cook, an avid reader and discusser of books, smart, funny, generous, and a dedicated activist, friend, and mother.

Contributions may be made in her honor to The Fund For Santa Barbara. A Celebration of her Life will be at The Unitarian Society Friday 2/19 11AM


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