In Memorium: Alumna Bettina “Tina” Gainsboro

Tina Gainsboro, a 1930s alumna of UCLA Lab School, with Principal Georgia Lazo in May 2019

UCLA Lab School is deeply saddened by the death of alumna Tina Gainsboro (’32), who passed away on March 7, 2020, at the age of 99. Ms. Gainsboro inspired countless children and adults through her creativity and devotion to family, friends, and community.

As a teenager, Ms. Gainsboro became a founding member of Los Angeles’ historic Bob Baker Marionette Theater and was the theater manager there for 30 years. In the 1940s, she became active in Los Angeles’ burgeoning jazz community and befriended luminaries such as Billie Holliday and Benny Goodman.

In September 2019, UCLA Lab School faculty and staff were treated to a visit from Ms. Gainsboro at a back-to-school meeting, where she shared memories of her elementary school days when the Lab School was known as the State Normal School and located on the Vermont Avenue campus, currently the site of LA City College. With pride and encouragement for the school’s history of innovation, she told the group: “I went to the best school. What we did was different than anything in L.A. Students were fascinated by what we studied.”

Principal Georgia Ann Lazo said, “We were so honored and inspired to have spent time with Ms. Gainsboro. Our community will always remember her for her warmth, humor, and the spark of life she emitted to the world around her.”

To read more about Tina Gainsboro’s life and career in the arts, visit the LA Times and Los Feliz Ledger.

At a 2019 faculty and staff retreat, Tina Gainsboro (’32) shared stories of her experiences as a student at UCLA Lab School back when it was known as the State Normal School and located on the Vermont Avenue campus