Our Selma
Selma Rubin
  • 96 years old
  • Date of birth: Mar 28, 1915
  • Date of passing: Mar 8, 2012
Let the memory of Selma - all the causes she supported, the organizations she started and the love she gave - be with us forever

For those wishing to honor Selma's memory and continue her good deeds, "The Selma Rubin Fund" has been established.  Please make your check payable to: The Fund for Santa Barbara, 26 W. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101.
Please specify by note or on the memo line: SELMA RUBIN FUND.

There is an oral history with Selma on the UCLA Center for Oral History Research. Link: 



Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by tim . on 26th March 2017

"Happy Bday. Missing you."

This tribute was added by tim . on 8th March 2017

"Miss you my friend.  Can't believe it has been 5 years.  You would be so busy as an activist right now with this gang we have in the White House.  I guess we all have to do a little extra because you would want us to..."

This tribute was added by Susan Epstein on 8th March 2017

"Selma continues to inspire us. Today is International Women's Day as well as the anniversary of her death (I can't say "passed" or she'd get mad at me…). The SB Progressive Coalition is training a new group of activists, and appropriately we often plan our meetings at Java Station, in Selma's honor. I miss you, Selma."

This tribute was added by Beezhan Tulu on 8th March 2017

"Selma was all about taking responsibility. Take action. How do ... I ... contribute?

Beezhan Tulu

This tribute was added by Edward Bear on 8th March 2017

"Selma was one of the best people I have ever known.  She was forever cheery, thoughtful, and dedicated to the Common Good.  Shine on, dear Selma."

This tribute was added by Beezhan Tulu on 30th March 2016

"Some souls are not just a memory but an ever lasting positive reflection that inspires you and helps you navigate your divine journey. Selma's life style is one of them."

This tribute was added by Betsy Weber on 28th March 2016

"Today marks what would have been Selma Rubin's 101st birthday. Selma is very near and dear to our hearts here at EDC. She remains a local hero and left quite the legacy, helping found over 42 social justice and environmental nonprofits, including EDC. Selma was a "first responder" to the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill and worked diligently to protect our coast from the threats of offshore oil drilling, helped establish the first Earth Day Festival, and led the charge on one of the earliest efforts to save the Gaviota Coast. Her infectious smile, stately hats and oversized glasses, and amazing conversation were the core of our TGIF happy hour series for many years. She never missed one, and called ahead to make sure her seat was reserved --the best seat in the house, strategically located right by the bar line.

Selma inspired generations of community leaders, mentored EDC staff, and provided housing for numerous EDC law clerks. Every day we carry the clear vision that Selma had for our region with us in hopes to make it a reality!

Happy birthday, dear Selma! We miss you.  

Your EDC family"

This tribute was added by tim . on 28th March 2016

"Happy Birthday Sel.  Missing you.  I've been hearing a song that reminds me of you.  "It's been a long day without you my friend, but I'll tell you all about it when I see you again."   Happy 101st."

This tribute was added by Kevin Billinghurst on 9th March 2016

"Hey Sel,
Still thinking about you every day. Wish you could be here to tell me how Bernie's gonna pull it off, because I need to believe."

This tribute was added by Edward Bear on 8th March 2016

"Selma's good cheer and warm heart were as constant as her devotion to the many people and causes she aided and supported over the years. She was and still is an inspiration to me. Love and hugs Selma."

This tribute was added by John Buttny on 8th March 2016

"we still miss you Selma.  Noone has taken your place."

This tribute was added by paul relis on 8th March 2016

"Selma and I shared nearly forty years of work with the Community Environmental Council. She was, in many respects, Santa Barbara's muse, her life touching so many aspects of our community.

I think of her often when I'm walking the dog along Mission Creek near the Museum of Natural History where we live. I talk to her and ask her advice, as if she were sitting in a room with me.  She is a living part of me and I'm sure all of you who have left a tribute, and so many others."

This tribute was added by tim . on 28th March 2015

"We talked often about which nonprofit would get to host Selma's 100th.  Now i guess it belongs to the whole community. Happy 100th my friend!"

This tribute was added by Marian Shapiro on 28th March 2015

"I can't believe that this would be Selma's 100th birthday!!! And she is still in our thoughts frequently.  There are times when I wish out loud, "What would Selma do about this situation?"  I want so much to ask her more about having a husband with dementia. She was such a role model and inspired everyone.  We all miss her very much!"

This tribute was added by tim . on 26th March 2015

"Happy Birthday!"

This tribute was added by tim . on 9th March 2015

"Thinking today about the great work that Selma did to make the Santa Barbara community a better place.  If everyone could do even a fraction of what she did, just think how much better the world would be."

This tribute was added by Edward Bear on 9th March 2015

"My friend Selma lived with joy and purpose that came from love, her commitment to justice, and her innate generosity.  She seemed to uplift all she came in contact with.  How many people do we ever meet and work with can you say that about?  Selma will always be in my heart."

This tribute was added by John Buttny on 8th March 2015

"Selma and I were founding members of the non-profit that saved Fairview Garden Farms in the early 1990's. Selma, of course, was the treasurer. The board met in the old farmhouse out in Goleta and we always made sure there was a good parking space for Selma, as she drove her Volvo station wagons into her 90's. Selma rarely missed a monthly board meeting and was always a quiet voice of reason as we tackled all the usual problems of keeping a non-profit alive and well.  Her work help create a solid foundation for the ongoing vitality of the farm, which still operates today."

This tribute was added by tim . on 28th March 2014

"Happy bday."

This tribute was added by tim . on 8th March 2014

"Thinking of you my friend. Miss you."

This tribute was added by Beezhan Tulu on 27th February 2014

"Beezhan Tulu (LivingWebFilms.com): My best memory while making a film on Selma was one Sunday morning. Hanging out with a conscious and active person like Selma was constantly filled with good memories. But one of my best memories with her was when we drove to Trinity Episcopal Church. She was planning to participate in a Church-yard gathering to represent Pueblo (an immigrant-rights organization). Spending this day with Selma made me homesick. I lived in Hedayat neighborhood in Tehran where we all (Moslems, Jews, Christians, Bahaii’s, …) lived together in peace. That day I (born Moslem filmmaker - although I never really practiced) was filming a Jewish activist to drive to a church to defend some immigrant laws. That was just amazing to me."

This tribute was added by Gail Osherenko on 27th January 2014

"A film featuring Selma and her amazing work SELMA RUBIN AND COMMUNITY OF LIFE, by Beezhan Tulu will premier at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Feb. 4, 2014 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.  A reception co-hosted EDC, CEC, Arnoldi's, el Capitan, Fund for Santa Barbara, SB CAN, and others will follow the film at Faulkner in the library.  Friends of Selma are welcome."

This tribute was added by David Landecker on 28th March 2013

"I know you expected to make it to 103.   You always were great at setting ambitious goals.   May we come as close to meeting ours as you did yours!   We miss you Selma.  Happy Birthday ..."

This tribute was added by Christine Cowles on 28th March 2013

"Thank you for everything you taught me, the kindness, openness and generosity you showed me and the world. You TRULY are and will forever remain an inspiration to so many people!"

This tribute was added by Karen Feeney on 28th March 2013

"Happy Birthday Selma!"

This tribute was added by Edward Bear on 28th March 2013

"Forever missed is exactly right.  And so is forever inspiring.
Selma's commitment to everything and everyone she loved
was and is as profound an example of how to live
as I've ever seen.  
Love always."

This tribute was added by Marian Shapiro on 28th March 2013

"It doesn't seem like a year since we saw Selma.  Her spirit is still with us and I often think, she would enjoy this,  or I wish I could ask her that.   She would be happy to know that long after she left us, we are still being inspired by her goodness, intelligence & energy, and that so many of us think of her so often as we try to bring peace,take care of the planet, and love each other."

This tribute was added by tim . on 28th March 2013

"Happy Birthday my friend."

This tribute was added by Carla Frisk on 8th March 2013

"Saw the nicest photo of Selma and David Landecker on Wednesday at his retirement party.  Made me think how much she would have enjoyed the event, but her spirit was certainly there in that photo! We will all always miss Selma at events like David's because she loved being a part of that milieu. Impossible to believe that it has been one year since she left us.  There are just no words...."

This tribute was added by David Landecker on 8th March 2013

"No event, no meeting, no victory, and no celebration has occurred this year where Selma's absence was not obvious, felt and remembered.   Her impact is in our hearts and minds, and her example continues to inspire us.   She made a positive difference.   That's the only legacy Selma desired.  It's up to each of us to stoke the embers that she left behind."

This tribute was added by Karen Feeney on 8th March 2013

"Thinking of you Selma.  It seems much longer than a year to me.... I miss your bright light."

This tribute was added by tim . on 8th March 2013

"I can't believe it has been a year....I miss you my friend."

This tribute was added by Nancy Black on 5th May 2012

"We included Selma in our EcoHeroes Project and Difference Makers book for her dedication, lasting contribution and courage. She's an inspiration for the world, and we're honored to share her. 'Remembering Selma Rubin' by Nick Welsh, photo by Isaac Hernandez, came out yesterday in The Nation: http://www.thenation.com/article/167726/remembering-selma-rubin"

This tribute was added by Dick Flacks on 4th May 2012

"I've put together a bouquet of songs  for Selma which you can listen to at: http://8tracks.com/rflacks/untitled-mix.
Included--the Paul Robeson performance of Joe Hill.
Thanks to all who labored to create the great memorial and to all who came."

This tribute was added by Sierra Club on 3rd May 2012

"On behalf of the staff and volunteers of the Sierra Club organization, we wish to express our gratitude for Selma Rubin, a true environmentalist and an inspiration to generations of conservationists.  A long time Sierra Club activist, volunteer and donor, Selma’s ongoing passion and efforts helped to ensure that future generations will be able to explore, enjoy and protect the planet."

This tribute was added by Marian Shapiro on 3rd May 2012

"Selma was an inspiration to all of us. She lived her values like nobody else I know.  She taught everyone she met how to do that, but no one could come close to her activism. I was 18 when I met Bill and Selma  before they moved to Santa Barbara. I've loved them ever since and was glad that I could hold Selma in my arms during her last few hours. What an amazing woman,never to be forgotten"

This tribute was added by Vicki Allen on 1st May 2012

"You were an inspiration to me (and to so many others) as an example of how to live and age--with grace, honesty, strength, conviction and humor. You will live on in the work we will do to make the world a better place."

This tribute was added by Eric Zimmerman on 30th April 2012

"Happy trails Selma!  THANK YOU for your decades of dedication to the community and numerous causes you championed.  You are an inspiration to multiple generations of citizens/activists who will continue to make a difference."

This tribute was added by Joanne McGarry on 20th April 2012

"Driving high up to a special vista point on the coastal hills, Selma and I gazed east to the grandeur of the Gaviota Coast and the openness of the land as it met the sea.  She rejoiced that she was able to be a part of its preservation and the view actuallly took her breath away."

This tribute was added by David Landecker on 16th April 2012

"Poem by Marge Piercy:
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out."

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This memorial is administered by:

Karen Feeney


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