Elizabeth Michaels Hearne

Elizabeth Michaels Hearne of Malibu, California passed away on June 25, 2012.

Known to her friends as Liz, she was born in London, England on September 23, 1947, the eldest child of Leonard and Elsa Michaels, who met in London during WWII.

In 1950, the Michaels family immigrated to the U.S. and settled in San Mateo, California, where her father, an architect, was known for designing beautiful modernist synagogues. She attended Burlingame High School in San Mateo, and earned a B.F.A. from The Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design in San Francisco, focusing on weaving large sculptural tapestries. To supplement her work as an artist, Liz earned an M.A. in Psychology from California State University at Sonoma, and became a Marriage, Family and Child Counselor.

In 1974, Liz met husband, John Hearne, a recent law school graduate and single father of 3-year-old Jennifer, when he accompanied a mutual friend to return a borrowed frying pan. John was instantly captivated by Liz. He described the moment as just like the song, “Some Enchanted Evening.”

In 1977, Liz joined John in Washington D.C. where he moved to practice law, and they were married later that year. Liz worked for the State of Virginia counseling abused women and children in rural areas. After the birth of son Brendan in 1979, Liz formed Elizabeth Michaels Associates in Virginia, which for 32 years successfully advised corporate and private clients on significant art acquisitions and site-specific installations for lobbies, plazas and other public spaces, placing the artwork of many established and emerging artists worldwide.

In 1983, daughter Megan was born, and in 1987 the family returned to California, living in Pacific Palisades and Point Dume in Malibu.


Liz was a slender, gorgeous brunette who could wear an Armani dress like a supermodel, yet she was also deeply spiritual, and always sought to imbue people and places with beauty and light. An avid gardener and animal lover, Liz rescued numerous cats and dogs. She was a spectacular mother and friend, who could be relied upon for deeply engaged conversation, silly greeting cards, and an open heart.

Liz was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008, and fiercely battled her disease with remarkable will power and dignity. She lived each day with the commitment to make it as normal as possible, but also filled with happiness and hope. She used her energy to give fully to her family, who were her greatest pride and joy.

She is survived by her loving husband, John, her devoted children, Brendan, Megan, and Jennifer, and her grandchildren, Caden and Aaron. She is also survived by her mother, Elsa Michaels, brothers George and Peter, and countless loving friends.

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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