Meet Your 2017 Vestry
Rev. Lester Mackenzie
Bio coming soon
Carol has been married to Scott Freeborn for 43 years. They live in LAGUNA Niguel. They have two boys Ben and Justin, both married. Justin is an attorney for the State of California and lives with his husband, Daniel in Sacramento. Ben is an Air Force pilot and lives with his wife, Jaime in Italy with their children Nate, Syd, and Zoe. Carols favorite hobbies are spending time with her family, gardening and golfing. Carol has been a nurse for 45 years and currently has her own business, Angel on my shoulder, helping to support aging adults remain in their homes and plan for the future.
At St Mary's Carol has been leading a support group on the first Wednesday of each month to help those caring for others.
Carol Freeborn RN BSN CCM
Angel on my shoulder
Mark is a cradle Episcopalian, the youngest of four from a career Army family. Wherever the family moved, from West Point NY to Honolulu HI, every parish home provided opportunities to serve in the choir, as an acolyte, or in the youth group. From 4th grade, Mark lived in Arlington VA where he graduated from Yorktown High School, and subsequently attended Randolph-Macon College, in Ashland VA, majoring in Religious Studies.
A move to Phoenix AZ initiated a 26 year career with Montgomery Ward and Co., with multiple opportunities at the local, regional, New York, and Chicago Corporate offices. A subsequent career in information technology management with a major credit reporting agency, brought Mark and his partner Marc from Chicago IL to Orange County CA in 2005. Mark and Marc have been together 19 years, and were married in June of 2008.
A call from a supper club brought Mark and Marc to St. Mary’s in the fall of 2005. Marc was confirmed in the Episcopal Church by Bishop J. Jon Bruno the following year. This is Mark’s second time to serve on the Vestry, having also served on the communications committee, edited The Parish Voice, and represented St. Mary’s at three Diocesan Conventions. Mark actively participated, and graduated from the first four-year Education for Ministry group at St. Mary’s. A frequent lay reader, Mark faithfully attends the 8AM Sunday service.
Now retired, Mark devotes much of his time to photography, cooking, reading and travel.
Dr. Nancy Wallis
Dr. Nancy Wallis has worshipped at St. Mary’s for four years and in January began her service as a Vestry member to help St. Mary’s develop more fully into its mission. She is a leadership scholar who enjoys her career as an organizational studies professor, executive leadership coach, and organizational consultant specializing in leadership development and strategy and culture alignment. She holds graduate degrees in human & organizational development, business administration, and public health. Nancy currently is a faculty member at Pitzer College, Pepperdine University, and Danube University in Austria. With 35 years’ experience as senior leader, management consultant, executive coach, administrator, trainer and mentor, Nancy specializes in leadership development that enlivens mindsets and reframes challenges as transformational opportunities. She is a member of the Academy of Management and serves on the board of its Management Consulting Division where she is Chair of the annual Doctoral Consortium and regularly presents at conferences and industry events.
This summer she is eager to devote more time writing her two upcoming books. The first, created in partnership with a brilliant colleague in the U.K., explores leadership development using the framework of adult development stage theory and is called The Leadership Seven: Transformations and Their Shadows. Her second book is titled Small Group Soul: Leading Healthy Groups by Transforming Shadow into Light and is designed to help small groups that are committed to increasing their effectiveness by identifying and transforming individual and group shadow aspects. Her other interests include long walks, the beach, her beloved cats, and spending as much time with family and friends as possible.
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Ria Zander was baptized at Grace Memorial Episcopal Church in Hammond, LA, and has been a member at several Episcopal churches throughout her life. Ria Zander is married to Dave Rhea and they have a son, Zander Rhea, 4 years old, and a Puggle named Happy. They live in Laguna Beach and Zander is in preschool at Anneliese’s Willowbrook campus. Ria has been a corporate attorney for 22 years and currently works as the Associate General Counsel, Product, Privacy and Regulatory, at Ten-X, LLC in Irvine (www.ten-x.com). Her husband, Dave, owns Coastal Online Marketing (internet marketing consulting for a variety of businesses). They have been members of St. Mary’s since 2009. They are volunteers for the ASL/Feed the Homeless program, and enjoy supper clubs. Ria’s hobbies include gardening, ceramics, travel (especially to beaches and snow), reading, art, theater and live music.
Jane was raised in Woodside in the San Francisco Bay area but spent most of her life in Short Hills, New Jersey. Having started her professional life as a gemologist, ,she then completed a degree at Parsons School of Design in Interior Design and passed a 2 day test to become a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers. She founded Coryell Interiors in 1984 and workied on medium to high end homes throughout the East Coast. She also worked with Episcopal churches.on various design projects. Jane is collaborative and sensitive to her clients’ needs and wishes and uses her knowledge of space, style, color, texture and light to make rooms that are delightful and comfortable. She is working to build the business in Orange County now.
Jane joined Christ Church, Short Hills when her daughter, Amanda, was baptized, and became devoted to that community and the Diocese of Newark. She served on the alter, in the choir and 4 terms on the Vestry, including participating in 4 Searches, and served on the Diocesan Committee for the Ministry of the Laity.
Jane moved to Orange County in 2013 when her son Barnaby and his wife, Alyssa moved from Chicago to her home town of Lake Forest. It was she who suggested that I might feel at home at St Mary’s and she could not have been more right! Moving from far away and knowing no one other than my family here, I found friends and a warm and welcoming atmosphere as well as the liturgy I love and a choir in which to sing quietly. I am so pleased to be on the Vestry, working with a remarkably dedicated and able group to bring a dynamic new rector to join us.
When not at church, my great joy is in my two children and 4and a half grandchildren; my friends, my work, reading, theater, music and art.
Jim van Gaasbeek
Born in Jamaica, New York, Jim was baptized a Presbyterian and attended a Methodist Church with his family until becoming a chorister at St Thomas Episcopal Church in New York City. He was subsequently confirmed as an Episcopalian. During secondary school, he attended Episcopal services eight times per week, which may have contributed to his being unchurched thereafter. He began attending services again at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Munich while living in Bavaria. Upon returning to the United States, he attended St Paul’s, Tustin, where he and Barbara were married in 1989. Jim and Barbara joined St Mary’s in 1998.
Jim holds a degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT, Masters’ Degrees from the University of Texas and from Texas Christian University, as well as a professional certificate from the California Institute of Technology. He was an aerospace engineer until his retirement in 2013, working on the development and testing of rotary-winged and fixed-winged aircraft, a spacecraft and a launch vehicle. He started out as a theoretical fluid dynamicist, transitioned into flight mechanics, worked on real-time, piloted simulations, and retired from Northrop Grumman as a systems engineer.
This is the first time Jim has served on a vestry. We are in a transition period, and Jim wanted to support the Church as we find a new priest and begin to rebuild the Parish for the future.
Jim and Barbara are members of the “fifth Thursday” ASL team, and both are lectors. Jim helps Barbara with her disaster relief campaigns. He enjoys reading, travel, building models, looking after Jasper (our cat), meeting with former colleagues every month for breakfast, supper clubs, and keeping up with family and friends.
The question Jorge gets asked most often is what do you prefer to be called? He has no preference, either Jorge or George work; so you take your pick.
Jorge was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and was the youngest of 8. He grew up in a strict Catholic home and became an Episcopalian once he was old enough to decide for himself and found a home that was accepting of who he was and what he believes in. By day, Jorge is a Risk Manager for a Credit Union and held a similar position with another financial institution for over 20 years. Having been directly affected by the events of September 11th and losing 87 co-workers, Jorge is extremely thankful for each given day. He moved to Southern California in 2001 in hopes of a change in pace and warmer climate. Besides serving his community through the ministries of St. Mary's, his other 'full-time' job is rescuing animals, particularly dogs. The love a dog gives is unconditional and one that he can only hope to emulate. Jorge's other interest include music, dance, and food.
I would have been doubtful is I had been told 15 or 20 years ago, that I would move to Southern California, where the Episcopal Church would become central to my life, but it so. Born in upstate New York, the third of four boys, I grew up in the New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia, received my bachelor degree from Pennsylvania Military College and my doctorate from Temple University School of Dentistry in 1975. After four years as a pedodontist in the US Army, I spent the following sixteen years working with underserved populations in New York City and Chicago as an officer in the US Public Health Service. My last assignment was to setup the first oral health center in the Midwest for HIV+ individuals. That center seeded numerous other dental centers. Today, the Spang Centers for Oral Health serve senior citizens, the homeless and teenagers at risk, as well as PWA’s (persons with AIDS) in the challenged neighborhoods of Chicago. I retired in 1996, to become a full time advocate for families impacted by HIV.
Ten years before I retired, I met my husband, Richard Alegre, and the Episcopal Church entered my life full time. Richard is a cradle Episcopalian and I was a Presbyterian. In 1991, after my confirmation, we received the church’s Blessing of Our Union at St Luke’s Episcopal in Evanston, Illinois. We bought a lakefront penthouse in Chicago and enjoyed that wonderful city until we moved to Orange County in 2005. Richard had accepted a position in the furniture business, his chosen field for the past three decades. We rented in Newport Beach and became members of St Michael and All Angels in Corona del Mar. I wanted to volunteer for an AIDS service organization and was introduced to St Mary’s when I joined ACTION (AIDS Care Teams in Our Neighborhood), which had been founded by members of our parish. I partnered with several clients, including Guadalupe Gonzalez, a most remarkable woman, with whom I had six memorable years as she struggled to survive against all odds.
Richard and I became members of St Mary’s in 2011 and were married in August, 2013 by Bishop Diane Bruce in the Heisler Park gazebo. I was elected to the vestry in 2015 and became the Junior Warden this past January. I have quickly become intimate with our campus and its unique challenges. The outdoor spaces and the Guild Hall need to be brought up to the current standards of accessibility and safety. Projects needed not just for our enjoyment and not just to bring in more revenue producing receptions, although those are too good reasons. We are all trustees of a very special place and we need to let Laguna and the world know of our vitality and our desire to grow. I hope that we will all come together to help transform St Mary’s, as we prepare to call a new rector and enter its second century of working in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Born in Clearfield, Utah at Hill Airforce Base, our family moved around a lot and settled in sunny Southern California when I was 3 years old. Blessed to be raised with a strong Christian faith instilled in me by my mother, it was much later in life that I was baptized and confirmed an Episcopalian.
Finding and joining the St. Mary’s community came at a critical point in my faith journey and deepened my passion for worship and serving our lord. My passion for serving includes being a reader, serving on the Alter, singing in the choir, and managing the Usher schedule. The invitation to join the St. Mary’s choir was truly an incredible gift and a joyful form of prayer.
I currently work for Panasonic Avionics as a Technical Instructional Designer/Instructor for their line of In-Flight Entertainment Systems. My career in Learning & Development expands over 20 years and several industries including: healthcare, pharmacy, automotive, financial, and now avionics.
Leslie has been my soulmate and partner for the past 23 years and we presently live in Irvine with our fur babies Willie and Bentley. In my free time I enjoy dinner with friends, shopping, movies, walking and playing with our dogs.
Shanna moved to Laguna Beach in 1992 all the way from Fullerton, where her parents still live in the house they bought when she was a baby. She was a student athlete having played soccer and basketball through college. She has a BA in Movement and Exercise Science from Chapman University, and an MS in Exercise Physiology from Cal State Fullerton, which is a good thing because she loves helping people be strong, fit, and healthy so they can live the life of their dreams.
Shanna continues enjoying an active lifestyle with snowboarding, mountain biking, cycling, and the occasional pickleball game. (yes it’s a real game, it’s fun, and she has extra equipment for you to use). She also enjoys reading, movies, time with friends and family, and traveling.
Shanna is married to Shauna McFadden – twice - first in 1999 before God, family, and friends, with a big party and lots of music. They married again in 2008 when the US government decided it wanted to join the party too.
Shanna & Shauna visited St. Mary’s several times for the Christmas Eve service and soon found a new church home. Shanna is in her second year on the vestry and is looking forward to the exciting days ahead for St. Mary’s.
Tom is a husband to Martha, father to three beautiful daughters, Jessie, Sarah and Chandler and grandfather to Sophia and Preston. Tom lives and works in Laguna Beach. He has been a lawyer for 40 years and is the founder and principal of Davis Law. He has been a member of St. Mary’s since 1989 and has served on the vestry for seven terms (including the current term). He is also deeply committed to working with non-profits in Laguna Beach and beyond as legal counsel and director. He is currently chairman of the Board of Trustees of Laguna Beach Community Foundation and Chairman of Chhahari (which funds and orphanage in Nepal). For fun, Tom loves to run, read and everything associated with the beach.