On August 6, 2018, the world lost the kindest, sweetest, most caring and compassionate woman the world has ever known. Elizabeth Hollingsworth was a woman whose smile lit up a room, instantly inviting everyone around her to share in her happiness and warmth. She loved without judgement, accepting every person for who they are and finding the good in each of their hearts. She was the first to jump in to help, the first to lend a hand, and selflessly never hesitated to think of herself or ask for anything in return. She listened fully and with a rare, genuine compassion, looking you in the eye and giving you her full attention no matter what. When she smiled her brilliantly beautiful smile, we smiled; when she giggled that infectious giggle, we giggled; and when she cried a deep, caring cry for a loved one, friend, fellow human, or animal, we cried with her.
Liz was a hugger, embracing those around her in her arms and comforting us with her compassion and hope. On one of her favorite shirts, the definition of love is written: “Love: To have benevolent concern for the welfare of others, i.e. animals, nature, family, friends, your community, and the world in which you live…” This was Liz. She embodied this love in every element of her life and was forever concerned for the welfare of those around her. She was the woman who raised hundreds of monarchs, protecting their delicate bodies as they grew stronger until they could fly away and experience the world and its awe. She was the woman who walked among the sequoia trees, astounded by their overwhelmingly natural beauty as they reached deep into the earth through their roots and then high up into the heavens with their branches. She was the woman who remained unwaveringly and passionately loyal to her family- as a sister, a daughter, a wife, and an aunt to so many. She loved her husband, sisters, parents, nieces and nephews, and extended family deeply, always thinking of how she could send love even when she moved across the country. She treasured her friends and her community- both those in New York, Florida, and Santa Barbara, and throughout the world. She was always there to jump on the phone for a needed call after a loved one had a rough day or to bring a meal to a community member in need. She loved her fellow human being, even those she did not know or had not yet met, and dedicated her voice, time, and passion to making the world a better place for every single person.
Born Elizabeth Ann Kearns on May 3, 1961 to parents Francis and Margaret in the Bronx, New York, the family soon after welcomed Liz’s sisters Karen and Diane. They moved from New York to New Jersey before returning to New York, this time settling in Northport on Long Island. Throughout her life as a young adult, Liz worked tireless as a waitress and across customer service jobs, always trying to find ways to support her family and add to their prosperity. She took courses, following a thirst to educate herself and to learn and grow to become the best person she could be for others. A child of the ‘70s, Liz valued and celebrated peace and love deeply and sought to spread this to her family, friends, and community with open arms and a full heart.
In August of 2004, after reconnecting in a romantic, serendipitous way, Liz moved to Santa Barbara, California to be with the love of her life, Larry Hollingsworth. Liz’s father brought her out to California, driving through America’s southern plains, the deserts, and the mountains to greet the warm, brilliant Santa Barbara sun. Larry stood waiting for her here, with a love for Liz stronger than most ever feel or know. Together they built a life here. They sipped coffee in the early morning hours as they watched the sun light up the green oasis of plants that decorated their home and then started the day, hiking and biking outdoors in the sunny, California warm days. After dinner each night, Liz and Larry would walk around the neighborhood, greeting the neighborhood cats by name, giggling about funny moments in their days, and listening to the silence as the neighborhood settled in for the night. They would return home and snuggle up, enjoying the quiet comfort of home and one another.
On October 10th, 2010 (“10/10/10”) at 10:10am, Liz married Larry in the Mission Rose Garden on a beautiful, sunny, warm Santa Barbara day. Just as the pastor pronounced them man and wife, the Mission bells rang, a sign that all had aligned to celebrate the love between them. Larry cherished his wife, putting her on a pedestal and admiring and appreciating all that she was. Their love was natural, effortless, and without question. Liz helped Larry become a better person, finding the best version of himself when he stood by her side. She slowed him down, reminded him to smell the roses and appreciate the beauty in each moment. He taught her to love unconditionally with a pure heart, to show kindness to those around him without question, and to giggle at life’s silly moments. The couple approached life’s obstacles together, hand in hand, always showing one another respect and loving with patience, trust, and hope. There was not a day that went by that they did not say “I love you,” and, each day, they celebrated their found love with a mandatory six kisses, at least. Their love was vibrant, their souls aligned, and they stood by one another even in the hardest moments.
Liz fell in love with the beauty of Santa Barbara and its people, immediately knowing that it was here that she wanted to “put down her roots,” as her sister Diane tenderly said. Here, with Larry by her side, Liz became an avid hiker and lover of the outdoors, finding a whole new world of untouched trails through the Santa Barbara Mountains. Her eyes lit up with excitement as she turned each corner, finding a view of her beloved city that she had never laid eyes on before. Together, Liz and Larry exploring the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Grand Canyon, trekking the Bright Angel Trail. Liz hiked with a smile on her face and the wind in her beautiful blond hair, never complaining or wanting to turn back. Together, they traveled to nearby Quartzsite, Arizona to find colorful geodes, gems, and crystals, which they used to create mosaic pieces of art to decorate the walls of their home. They saved these treasured, hand-made creations to give to family and friends, sending them back East and spreading their love with each piece.
But among all of the picturesque natural spots they visited, Liz’s favorite spot was Yosemite National Park. A place of breathtaking beauty that felt untouched, unspoiled, and brimming with its natural purity, it was here that she found her beloved sequoia trees. Liz loved the vast, wide openness of the mountains- the power of their beauty, the feeling of being a small part of something so much bigger in this life than herself.
Liz approached life in this way, seeing herself as connected to others and dedicated to something larger than herself. She brought together people from different parts of life, welcoming all with open arms and reminding us that we always have a friend nearby. She lived her life for those around her, celebrating their joy and doing anything she could to help one in need. One day, during one of the big California fires, Liz mysteriously found $250 on the ground in a parking lot. She stood for some time, trying to find the owner, but it remained unclaimed. Liz eventually took the money but, rather than spending it on herself, she asked Larry to drive to Costco. There, she purchased $250 worth of food to feed the animals displaced by the fire, animals who needed love and attention just as much as our communities reeling from the impact of the fires.
Liz held on to each memory; she saved every card, letter, picture, and stone. Her happiness came from those around her and the joy that each of those she loved found in life. She asked for nothing in return. Liz mentored many in her community, using the challenges she had overcome in her own life to give comfort to others and help them continue forward and grow with peace and hope. Liz dedicated herself to her job at Alta Orthopedics, where she was a faithful employee for over ten years. Liz always went above and beyond. She was the type of employee who finished her work and, rather than clocking out early, turned to a coworker, asking how she could help to share in the work still on his or her plate. Her dedicated work ethic, focus, strength, and compassion were unmatched. On days off, when they weren’t exercising outdoors, Liz and Larry loved to go to garage sales and swap-meets. Here, she found beauty in trinkets and treasures that had been cast away. She carried them home, brushed them off, and gifted them to her family, friends, and neighbors in need of a smile.
On August 6th, in the evening just as the beautiful Santa Barbara sun tucked itself in and welcoming the dusk, Liz passed away peacefully in the arms of her husband. She was surrounded by her mother, sister, and extended family, here in California and throughout the country. Liz was proceeded in death by her father Francis and sister Karen and is survived by her husband, her mother Margaret, her sister Diane and Diane’s husband Dominic and children Nicole and Michael, her sister Karen’s daughter Deidra, loving aunts, uncles, and cousins on the Kearns side, and her loving extended Hollingsworth family.
Liz is, and will forever be, deeply missed. She will remain in our hearts and minds for eternity, and we will each show kindness to others each day to honor her and her spirit.
A celebration of life will be held in the future; date and time to be set in the future. If you would like to donate in Liz’s honor, please support the Wildlife Rescue Organization. Thank you for keeping Liz- and her radiant smile- in your hearts. Please send condolences to her loving husband, Larry Hollingsworth, at firstname.lastname@example.org