1st female editor in chief of The Daily Californian dies at 99

Sarita Henderson Smedberg, the first female editor in chief of The Daily Californian, died Dec. 13 at the age of 99.

Smedberg was born in Pasadena, California on June 18, 1918 and graduated from UC Berkeley as an undergraduate student in 1941. She married Renwick Smedberg, who also worked at the Daily Cal, that same year. The two were married for 75 years before Renwick Smedberg died earlier in 2017 at 100 years old.

“She loved to tell the stories of her past. And you know she did a wonderful job of that,” said Laurel Smedberg Ludden, Smedberg’s youngest daughter. “So we enjoyed hearing all the stories of the people in her past, and it was a long past, so there was a lot for her to tell us about.”

Smedberg and her husband had three children: Ludden, Virginia Smedberg Halloran and Michael Henderson Smedberg.

Smedberg loved to play bridge with her husband, according to Ludden. At about 50 years of age, the couple learned to play golf and enjoyed the game. She also enjoyed traveling —  the family moved around frequently because Renwick Smedberg worked in the military and was stationed in various locations, including Japan and Hawaii.

“I remember when we lived in Japan and I was seven, eight, nine years old, we were always exploring Japan — she and I,” Ludden said. “She would take me along to all the places she would like to go. I do remember a sense of adventure and fearlessness (in her).”

Ludden added that her mother supported her independence when Ludden told her parents that, instead of attending UC Berkeley like the rest of her family, she wanted to attend the University of Nebraska. Ludden said Smedberg supported her decision and encouraged her to do the things she wanted to try.

Sarita and Renwick Smedberg retired in 1975, and the couple moved to Fairfield, California, where they stayed in an assisted living facility since then.

“She loved people,” Ludden said. “ She was a very calm person who just enjoyed life.”

Contact Adrianna Buenviaje at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @adriannaDC.

In one instance, a previous version of this article referred to Laurel Smedberg Ludden as Laura Smedberg Ludden.