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Memories of Mara Steves

Principal Barbara Scholl describes a very active school volunteer who was loved by all. Steves was killed today after she saved a stray dog in Laguna Niguel.

Mother, wife, and school volunteer are just a few words that describe Mara Steves, 48, who was killed this morning after she saved a stray dog.

Steves was kneeling on the sidewalk at the intersection of Nueva Vista Drive and Moulton Parkway, holding the dog that had been darting in and out of traffic when two SUVs collided, striking her, according to Lt. Ted Boyne with the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The accident occurred about 11 a.m.

Those in the community are devastated by the news.

"Such a sad, sad situation," said Barbara Scholl, principal at Bergeson Elementary School where Steves served as PTA president for several years until her children moved on to middle school three years ago. 

"Mara was bigger than life."

"An active volunteer is an understatement.  She started many programs and was such a bundle of energy and enthusiasm that parents wanted to do anything they could do to help around the school.  She was a motivational force."

During the last three years, Steves continued to volunteer at the school in addition to working in the office when the office manager or attendance clerk were absent, according to Scholl.

"She was such a great role model for her kids," Scholl said. "Her daughter, Hannah, volunteers at Bergeson Elementary whenever she has time off.  She follows in her mom’s footsteps.  Almost everyone knew Mara and those who knew her, loved her.  She will be greatly missed by the entire community."

Just moments ago, Scholl sent out this note to parents at the school:

It is with great sadness that I share this news with you.  Mara Steves passed away this afternoon in a tragic and sudden accident.  Mara was past PTA president and currently active as our favorite office substitute when Debbie or Angel had to take a day off.  Mara was taking a walk this afternoon and was doing a good deed by returning someone’s runaway dogs to their home when a car ran a red light, hit another car which hit Mara at the corner of Moulton and Nueva Vista.  Mara was bigger than life, always doing good deeds for others and serving our community.  Her energy was infectious and her love of life was beyond compare.  She has served the Bergeson community for a decade starting new programs and working tirelessly for the good of the children at our school.  Our entire Bergeson community mourns the loss of our friend, Mara, sending love and condolences to Mara’s beautiful family, especially her two children, Hannah and Jonathan and husband, John.  We will never forget Mara and the legacy that she left at Bergeson Elementary School.

This note was purposefully sent to you on Sunday since many of our children know Mara.  We wanted you to have a chance to talk with your children as a family instead of having the kids hear of the news from one of their friends tomorrow at school.  If you know the Steves family and would like to help provide meals or assistance, email Mrs. T (jaterheggen@capousd.org) or Mrs. Gray (cagray@capousd.org) who will be organizing a website for this purpose.

Because Valentine’s Day was Mara’s favorite holiday, we will dedicate our Jump Rope for Heart tomorrow to Mara Steves which will be a wonderful way to celebrate her life.

What Happened?

Boyne said that Steves was down on one knee holding the dog whe she was hit.  "[The drivers] could have been on the phone, they could have run a red light, we don't know," Boyne said.

The dog had been darting in and out of traffic, authorities said, and Steves had just gotten ahold of the dog when she was hit.

A  59-year-old man from Anaheim, who was behind the wheel of a Toyota 4Runner, suffered bumps and bruises. His female passenger, a 56-year-old woman, suffered a broken collarbone, Boyne said.

The other vehicle, driven by a 27-year-old man from Placentia, was a Ford Explorer. The man suffered bumps and bruises; all were taken to area hospitals, Boyne said.

"At this point, we don't know if the dog caused the crash," Boyne said.

"It did get away."

The major traffic reconstruction team was sent to the scene and a SigAlert was put into place at noon at Aliso Creek Road and Crown Valley Parkway.

The investigation is continuing.

lindsay February 14, 2011 at 03:29 AM
There is a memorial at the sccene of the accident tommorrow at 7. please come and support the steves family
Sheri Lawrence February 14, 2011 at 04:14 AM
Heartbreaking... Our the thoughts and prayers are with The Steves Family
Caprice Crebar February 14, 2011 at 04:40 AM
We love you Mara and will miss your smile, your amazing energy and enthusiasm, your zest for life, your significant contributions to our community. We will keep your family close to our hearts. You're a shining star that will be so deeply missed by all.
Tom Berney February 14, 2011 at 05:06 AM
It's a very sad story , the community will be there for the family. Our hearts go out to them.
Nancy Sato February 14, 2011 at 05:39 AM
So sad...my children were students at Bergeson from 2000-2010...she will be greatly missed and my heart and prayers go out to her family.
ERIN DEVRE February 14, 2011 at 07:50 AM
TO THE STEVES FAMILY YOUR LOSS IS GREATLY FELT AND I PRAY THAT YOU WILL BE COMFORTED AND EMBRACED BY THE LORDS SPIRIT DURING THIS DIFFICULT TIME. WE SEND YOU LOVE
Tami February 14, 2011 at 02:23 PM
Mara was an amazing mother. A gift, a model, a friend. We will miss her presence and the care she shared so freely. Our deepest condolences to her family. Our thoughts and love are with her family this morning as they face this day before them. "Know that you have a perfect, beautiful angel on your side." She loved her children fiercely while she was here and will hold and comfort them tenderly in the days and years to come. Peace.
Andrew Clegg February 14, 2011 at 03:43 PM
I live thousands of miles from California and I don't know Ms. Steves, but I do know that anyone who cares enough about animals to risk their own life to save one must have been a wonderful person. This world needs more people like her.
Stacy Mamatas February 14, 2011 at 04:13 PM
I couldn't agree with you more, Andrew. I did not know Mara either, but she must have had a lot of love in her heart to help a dog in peril like that. So sad.
Kristin Stairs February 14, 2011 at 04:45 PM
Mara has been currently working at Crown Valley Elementary School. I work there too. She was so full of life. I truly enjoyed seeing her when she would fill in for various office positions at work. It brings me much sadness that I will not see her today. She was truly a good spirit. Bless you Mara. Prayers for her family . I am so so sorry.
Johnnie February 14, 2011 at 06:38 PM
I live in Nebraska now and love to read News from my home, So. Cal. but today is so sad, I cry! but please pass Mara's Love On!....I am so sorry for her family and friends, I Pray for Mara's Love to touch each of you daily....GOD Bless her family.
Scott Marino February 14, 2011 at 06:50 PM
Mara will be missed deeply. Her contributions to the schools and the community, have helped make our children the fine young men and women that they are and will continue to be. God bless her family and friends.
Jeffrey S. Dawson February 14, 2011 at 06:52 PM
I was shocked to hear this tragic news. My condolences go out to Mara's family and friends.
Tyson Reyes February 14, 2011 at 07:04 PM
I heard about this tragedy on the morning news. Mara was dedicated to her family and community and I got to know her as President of the Rancho Niguel Tampico Homeowners Association. My condolences and prayers to the Steves Family.
Victoria Gonda February 14, 2011 at 07:26 PM
Mara will be greatly missed. I used to babysit her kids when they were little and both of my brothers have attented Bergeson, until the oldest moved on to middle school this last school year. She was always smiling and was just such an amazing person in the community. I send my heart and condolences to the Steves family and all friends who were close to her. She will be missed.
Amy Manabat Tumaliuan February 14, 2011 at 07:58 PM
Mara's son Jonathan is my son's bestfriend...we all going to miss Mara for all of her kindness, friendliness and just simply being a good person...our prayers goes out to the whole Steves Family.....God bless you all...The Tumaliuan's
Deborah Nguyen February 14, 2011 at 08:13 PM
Mara I never got to say thank you for the holiday card. Your kindness and humor will be missed. My condolences to the Steves & Kashuk family. Deborah
anonymous February 14, 2011 at 09:39 PM
As a member of the local community, I can attest to Mara's passion and enthusiasm to make this a safe place for us all. Mara was such a joy! She was the person who would always pass out glow sticks for children on Halloween, so they would be a bit safer. Endless prayers to her family and friends, and all those affected by this tragedy. And to everyone else in the community, let this serve as a reminder to slow down...in our cars and just with life. I hope that through this adversity, she will positively affect us all to be better people.
alicia vazquez (Madrid/Spain) February 14, 2011 at 10:53 PM
An Angel on Earth, always an Angel. My condolences to her family, children and beloved friends. With all my heart.
Amy David February 14, 2011 at 10:55 PM
Mara was a Mom's Mom! She knew how to be the best Mom to her children and a role model to other Mom's. She loved her family so very much! They were her world. She will be deeply missed. Her smiling face greeted you whether you were shopping at Ralph's or in the office at Marian Bergeson Elementary school. I feel so honored to have known her and have her friendship. Wow! Words cannot express the loss that our community feels with her gone and the sadness that her family is experiencing. I know you are in Heaven with all the good that you did here on earth! Amy David & Family
Anonymous February 14, 2011 at 11:38 PM
It was a pleasure to have known Mara Steves. She will be missed a great deal, and she will be remembered.
Wendy Rashall February 15, 2011 at 01:40 AM
You did not post my comment. I found that very sad Wendy
Lori Olvera February 15, 2011 at 04:44 AM
Mara's death is such a tragedy. I have sat with Mara on the sidelines for many years cheering our girls on, and I know that her passing has left an incredible hole in the hearts of her family and friends. She was a wonderful and dedicated mother, wife, and friend, and I pray that her family finds comfort knowing that she was loved by many and will greatly missed. Lori and Harley Olvera
christine turner February 15, 2011 at 12:33 PM
to the family of mara, You've had the best ever wife and mother. Wishing you all gods speed to heal your hearts. Take care of each other at this difficult time. But proudly remember the beauty she was and work on replicating her as she would have wanted. We are on this planet a very short time and you'll all be together one day. Cry, grieve, appreciate and replicate. With love christine turner
Michael kadovitz February 15, 2011 at 06:43 PM
I am so heartbroken to learn of this sad and terrible news. Mara was a colleague of mine when she was at CBK (and I at AAE ) many years ago. She was so much fun, loved her kids, her congregation, her friends. She was doing an act as we say in Hebrew- of Gimilut Chassidim, an act of loving kindness. We are better people for the good works she has done. May her memory be a blessing. Michael Kadovitz Denver, CO

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