Concettina (Lee) Arnold 1920 – 2023

Written by Estero Bay News

January 19, 2024

Concettina Lee was born in Puebla, Colorado. The family moved to Los Angeles when she was 11 years old. She is a product of the Los Angeles City Schools graduating from Lincoln High School, followed by a Bachelor of Science from UCLA and a Master of Science from USC. Her first teaching job was biology and home economics at McFarland High School in Kern County.  The remainder of her teaching career was in the Los Angeles Unified School District, teaching Junior High School and becoming the Science Department Chair.  In 1958 she was recognized with the National Science Secondary Teachers Association Award. She became a UCLA demonstration teacher, a counselor, assistant Principal, and ultimately, Principal of Lawrence Junior High School.  She served as the Region Director of Instruction for 7 Junior High Schools in the inner city.  In 1983 she was recognized as one of the Outstanding Principles in the state, by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

When Lee moved to Cayucos in 1958, she hit the ground running with her leadership and organizational skills.  She co-founded Cayucos Beautiful for Community Betterment with her husband, Allyn. From 1992-1994, she chaired the momentous Pier Plaza project, which necessitated intensive involvement with state as well as county agencies, and community organizations. Funds to support the cost of the Plaza were raised in four months after all the groundwork was laid.  The center of attraction in the Plaza is “The Great Communicators” dolphin sculpture.  

She served on the board of the Cayucos Art Association, organizing gallery sitting volunteers, monthly demonstrations, and fundraising in support of an art teacher at the Cayucos School.  Lee raised the support funds for seven years until the responsibility was assumed by the Cayucos School Foundation.  In 2003, in recognition of her efforts in establishing the Cayucos School GATE program, the Teacher Resource Center, and the K-8 Art Program, Lee was recognized by Phi Delta Kappa as a “Lay Person of the Year.” In 2012 she was proud to be selected one of the Cayucos Women of the Year, by the Cayucos Education Foundation, in recognition of her work with Cayucos Elementary.

 In 1992, she and Allyn were the first couple to be named Cayucos Citizens of the Year, by the Chamber of Commerce, and in 2014, she and Allyn were recognized by the Friends of the Cayucos Library as Distinguished Volunteers. 

Lee was a wonderful cook and liked to entertain.  She was also generous in sharing her experience and considerable financial expertise with friends who needed help in this area.  Her organizational skills were great.

She is predeceased by her first husband Milton Orth, and her second husband of 44 years, Allyn Arnold.  She is so grateful for her many caregivers: Emily, Colleen, Connor, Danielle, Frankie, Kim, Michie, and her favorite neighbor, Laurie Niblock.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Cayucos Education Foundation, or the Cayucos Land Conservancy.

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