1943 – 2013
It is with great regret that I must announce the passing of another long time member of our Association, Luis M. Zanartu. Some may have had the pleasure of knowing or meeting this gentle and funny spirit, but for those who did not know him it is worth while mentioning about his contributions to our driving school industry.
Luis moved to Los Angeles in 1969 from his native Chile. Speaking little English as many immigrants do initially, he tried his hand at several occupations, but found true passion in our industry as an instructor in America driving school of Los Angeles.
By 1971 the school moved to Oxnard California and was bought by Luis becoming a local fixture of driver Safety in Ventura County. In 1981 Dera Vicki Zanartu joined Luis and worked with him establishing a standard and reputation for quality driver education which lives on after his passing on February 5th 2013. Those wonderful qualities they built together will continue to flourish under Vicki.
After all these years they found themselves teaching the grand children of their original students which is a quiet testament to the quality of training they have offered over the years. His students always adored him young and old for his wonderful sense of humor and Latin warmth, but above all for his recognizable passion to make them safe drivers.
In 2007 Luis was diagnosed with a serious potentially fatal illness IPF Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. His options were die in a matter of a few years or undergo Lung transplantation.
At the time I remember him, discussing this with me and saying he wanted to give up. We had some soulful conversations and with great courage he went ahead with his surgery when the opportunity was finally given him. In July of 2009 Luis got a right lung transplant at UCLA medical center. Funny enough this was about the time we were building bridges with Donate Life who today is one of our sponsors of the DSAC. It took close to a year for Luis to get back to what he truly loved and that was preparing and teaching people to drive safely.
Regretfully by July 2012 Luis began to show signs of organ rejection which sidelined him from his joy of teaching and finally developed into his last battle for his life.
Dera Victoria Zanartu will continue with her own passion for training safe drivers, but in her own words “there will be a little less joy as there is one less flame that has ceased to glow”. Luis M. Zanartu will be sorely missed not only by staff and students but also an industry that can only say thank you for a job well done.
Robert J. Stahl
with indispensable collaboration from Victoria Zanartu