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Posted on January 17, 2013 | 11:25 a.m.

Nathan Rundlett of Santa Barbara, 1936-2013

Source: Rundlett Family

[Click here for a Noozhawk profile of Nathan Rundlett from 2008.]

Nathan S. Rundlett, born Feb. 23, 1936, died Jan. 13, 2013, of pancreatic cancer.

Nathan S. Rundlett
Nathan S. Rundlett

Nathan, well known to many in the greater Santa Barbara area, was born in Somerville, Mass., to Hannah MacDonald Rundlett and Stephen Rundlett.

Nathan was a high school teacher of mathematics and chemistry, and was revered by both his colleagues and his students. He taught in Granada Hills at Granada Hills High and Kennedy High School, where he was one of the founders of the Kennedy High SWAS program (School Within a School).

He and his wife, Marilyn Gilbert, moved to Santa Barbara in 1981, and Nathan was able to complete his dream of building his own house. After that, he again re-entered teaching at Camarillo High School and spent the next 11 years teaching math and chemistry.

During the same period of time, he and his wife founded the Santa Barbara Grand Opera in 1993 with a performance of Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. The couple continued to develop the opera company (now known as Opera Santa Barbara) for the next six years, during which they presented approximately four productions a year, plus outreach to schools and support for other nonprofit organizations.

At one time, Nathan and his wife produced and performed in a Spanish zarzuela in the Sunken Garden of the Courthouse — the first time a large-scale musical had been presented in that venue. They produced many operas, musicals and plays, with Nathan sometimes directing and on occasion building sets for the shows. He was a winner in the Metropolitan Opera Western Regional Auditions and made his professional debut in the Redlands Bowl as Sharpless in Madame Butterfly, with Dorothy Kirsten and Brian Sullivan. He has sung leading roles in more than 20 operas. He also became a member of the Society of American Period Furniture Makers.

Nathan is survived by his four children and their spouses, 16 grandchildren and his wife, Marilyn Gilbert.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Nathan Rundlett Vocal Scholarship Fund, c/o the Santa Barbara Music Club, P.O. Box 3974, Santa Barbara, CA 93130.

A memorial celebration of Nathan’s life will be held Sunday, Jan. 20 at Congregation B’nai Brith, 1000 San Antonio Creek Road in Santa Barbara. All are welcome.


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