Laurie Romano passed away from cancer Saturday, October 24, 2020 at her Santa Barbara home with her loving family by her side. Born in Ridgewood New Jersey to Samuel and Margaret Romano, Laurie moved to Santa Barbara with her family at the age of three when her engineer father began working at GM’s Delco research facility in Goleta. She attended Marymount School, Bishop Diego and San Marcos High Schools. Growing up in Santa Barbara instilled in her a love for the natural beauty of the region and an appreciation of a well-designed built environment. In 1974 her father was transferred to Michigan and the family relocated there where she graduated from Adams High School in Rochester, MI in 1976. She attended Michigan State University studying pre-law for two years until she discovered the profession of Landscape Architecture which better suited her innate creativity and love of nature. She returned to California and attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture in 1983. It was there in her senior year that she met her future husband, then architecture student, Keith Rivera. Laurie and Keith were married in Santa Barbara in 1984 and soon relocated to San Francisco to pursue their respective careers, Laurie working for several notable S.F. design firms. Their two children, Colette and Andre were born in “The City“, where Laurie became a devoted stay at home mom.
In 1999 Laurie and her young family returned to the Santa Barbara she loved, and she soon resumed her career working for Arcadia Studio rising to the level of principal landscape architect as an owner and partner. Laurie was a talented designer whose love of the outdoors, respect for the built environment and fascination with the places where the two intersect informed her work. A member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, she relished large, complex, projects which challenged her creativity as well as her formidable managerial skills and was a mentor to many of the younger designers she worked with. Some of her more notable local design work includes the Presqu’ile winery in Orcutt, Cabrillo Business Park/Deckers Brands headquarters in Goleta and, most recently, the in-progress Santa Barbara Central Library Plaza. Dedicated to preserving the unique beauty of Santa Barbara she served on the city’s Board of Architectural Review and was also a long-time member of the county’s South Board of Architectural Review.
Laurie loved the local environment and particularly the beauty of the beaches, ocean and Channel Islands. She was a faithful friend and nurturing mother who always strived for the best in everything she did. Laurie enjoyed hosting family gatherings at her San Roque home, dining out with family and friends, attending local events and relaxing at home in the beautiful outdoor spaces she created there. An animal lover, she enjoyed long beach walks with her dogs, especially her irascible husky mix Lola. Laurie was an exceptional person in so many ways and she will be dearly missed by her family, friends and colleagues.
Laurie is preceded in death by her father, Samuel Romano. She is survived by her husband of thirty-six years Keith Rivera; daughter Colette Rivera, son-in law Tom Kirk of Dunedin, NZ; son Andre Rivera, daughter-in law Angela of San Diego, CA. She also leaves behind her mother Margaret Romano, brothers Cliff and Tim Romano, sister Mariliz Romano, as well as a host of nieces and nephews.
Due to the current ongoing pandemic plans for a celebration of life are pending. In lieu of flowers donations in her name to the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation, Library Plaza Project, are requested. See https://sblibraryfoundation.org/what-we-fund/library-plaza-project/