Marcella Marie Schaefer Kirst
June 16, 1923 – June 3, 2016
Marcella was born in Los Angeles to Andrew and Mary Schaefer, and grew up in San Gabriel. She attended St. Stephen’s School, The Academy of the Holy Names and Alhambra High School, and Sawyer’s Business School.
With the goal of ferrying airplanes during WWII, she took flying lessons, then worked at the instrument lab at Vega. Marcella was one of 15 women chosen to go to The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena for accelerated courses in aeronautical engineering. She then worked at Lockheed and JPL in engineering, where she met and married James Kirst of La Canada. After the war and Jim’s return from the Sea-Bees, they lived in La Canada for 45 years and raised their 4 children.
Marcella was active in St. Bede’s Catholic Church and School, the Huntington Memorial Hospital Guild, and enjoyed golf, tennis, painting, puzzles, reading, gardening and the ocean. Marcella and Jim traveled extensively and had great fun with their children.
She is predeceased by her son Gregory and her husband James, and leaves her greatly loved family, James Kirst Jr. (Sue Ann), Dana Gabriel (Steven), Mary Kirst; grandchildren James Kirst III (Laura), Jennifer Craycraft (Brian), Holly Kirst, Andrew Gabriel, Nicholas Gabriel (Stephanie), Gregory Gabriel; and great grandchildren Cameron Craycraft and James and Emily Gabriel. She and her strength, wisdom, grace, kindness, compassion and love will be greatly missed.
A celebration of Marcella’s life will take place on Wednesday, June 15th at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church, 2046 Mar Vista Drive, Newport Beach, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 2:00 p.m. Private interment will be held the following day at Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles.