Seawright-Quigley a true Daughter of Hermosa Beach

Roberta with the 1953 MG she brought home from Euope and drove in the Beach Cities for the next 50 years.

Roberta Hesketh Seawright Quigley was born in Hermosa Beach to Robert and Dorothy Heskethon January 23, 1939 and passed away Feb. 10.

She enjoyed supporting Hermosa Beach events, such as the Art Festival at the pier, and Hermosa Beach Historical Society gatherings.

Roberta Hesketh Seawright Quigley with her favorite people at her favorite place. Grandkids (left to right) Andy Seawright, Chloe Newton, Roberta, Molly Seawright, Piper Newton, Nick Hayes, and Holly Hayes-Smitherson. Photos courtesy of the Seawright family

Summer was her favorite season, the beach her favorite place, and yellow her favorite color because it reminded her of sunny summer days. Roberta grew up in South Hermosa Beach with her younger sisters, Dorothy and Nancy. They loved going to the beach, biking on The Strand, buying candy at Granny’s (LeMaster’s) Grocery, and reading lots of books. 

Roberta attended South School Elementary and Pier Ave. Junior High. She was in the first freshman class at Mira Costa High School and illustrated the Hoofprints Yearbook, which won an award winner that year.

Roberta’s love for the beach developed early.

Shortly before she graduated in 1956, Roberta met her first husband, Ron Seawright, who was on leave from being stationed in the Army in Germany. Ron was also a Hermosa Beach native whose family lived just a block from Roberta’s. As Ron continued his service in Frankfurt, Roberta studied art at El Camino Community College. After exchanging lots of letters, they wed at St. Cross Church in Hermosa in 1957 and then soon left for Germany to live near his Army base. Roberta and Ron enjoyed their time in Germany, traveling around Europe in their 1953 MG. Both were artistically talented and enjoyed decorating for the Army Officers Club’s elaborate parties. They shipped their MG home when they returned to Hermosa Beach in 1958. For the next 50 years, Roberta drove her beloved MG around the South Bay, sometimes miraculously squeezing all four of her children into the small car. 

Soon after moving back to Hermosa from Germany, Roberta’s first child, Heidi, was born, followed by Bob, Annie, and Mary. She dedicated herself to her children and her community as an active PTA member at North School, and volunteered at St. Cross Sunday School, Camp

Fire Girls, Indian Guides, and Girl Scouts, as well as supporting AYSO and Hermosa Beach Little League.

She made trips with her children to the Natural History Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Being creative and artistically gifted, she enjoyed sewing clothes, dolls, and quilts for her kids and would decorate the house with bright colors, murals, and homemade art. The birthday parties she hosted were always large, elaborate, and memorable. She was incredibly smart, and had a sharp sense of humor, always making clever jokes.

In her spare time, she loved reading her favorite magazine, The New Yorker and books from the Hermosa Beach library and Either Or Bookstore. Her favorite author was James Joyce.

Roberta divorced Ron in the early 1970s, and while it was a rough patch in her life, with help from family and friends, she persevered. She always kept her great sense of humor and combined with her endless energy and sharp mind, she managed to work full time in the Administration Office at Pacific Shores Continuation High School, be a single mom of four kids, and attend school at night. She graduated summa cum laude from Dominguez Hills University with a Masters in English Literature in 1988. She then went on to teach Independent Study at Redondo High School where she helped hundreds of students, both teens and adults. She always had a big heart and lots of compassion and patience for kids who were struggling and took extra time and care to help them succeed. 

Roberta was in the first Mira Costa High School freshman class.

Roberta enjoyed many of her happiest times in her later years in Manhattan Beach with her second husband, Jerry. They gardened, went for walks, read, and hosted dinner parties. They traveled through Europe, South America, and Africa, enjoying art museums, gardens, and local culture. One of her greatest joys in life was being “Nana” to her eight grandchildren: Nick and Holly Hayes, Molly and Anders Seawright, Chloe and Piper Newton, and Ana and Jack Dombrow. Her favorite times with the grandchildren were at the beach. She was elated recently to know that her first great-grandchild, Audrey Hayes, was born two days before her last birthday and that her granddaughter, Holly, was expecting her second great-grandchild in June. 

Her family will celebrate her life sometime in the near future by dedicating a day to all the things she loved: art, books, folk music, and of course, the beach. 

In her memory, her family asks you to spend an afternoon doing some of the things she loved or felt strongly about: read a book, do an art project, donate blood, plant flowers, be kind to someone who’s having a hard time, donate to a scholarship fund for single moms, hug your kids, go for a walk on the beach. ER


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