Anyone visiting the Lobero’s beautifully renovated rear courtyard is bound to wonder about the single stone nestled beneath an impressive pepper tree which bears the engraving,
“This Tree dedicated October 29, 2004.
In Memory Of William Patrick Tennity
who loved Music, Fishing and Marilyn 1920-2004.”
This simple inscription says a great deal about the man and his wife whose mutual love of the arts was only matched by their devotion to each other.
When William “Bill” Tennity passed away in 2003, Marilyn, his wife of 43 years, “found it a fitting tribute to donate $100,000 to the renovation of the courtyard, a project spearheaded by the Lobero Theatre Associates, a women’s auxiliary group dedicated to raising funds for the operation and maintenance of the Lobero.
Her husband had long been one of the Lobero’s most ardent fans and gracious patrons, and Marilyn wanted to ensure that future generations of theatre goers enjoy a relaxing social event in the courtyard before or after a show, as she and her husband so often had. She also hopes they will think of him, if only for a moment, as they sip wine and enjoy good conversation.
Marilyn was a widow and mother of four living in Los Angeles when she met Bill through mutual friends. A mechanical engineer by training, Bill owned a firm that specialized in large air conditioning installations; his clients included Disney World, the Transamerica building in San Francisco, and many of the Las Vegas casinos, to name a few. But far more intriguing to Marilyn was Bill’s gift for music. “He was an amazing musician,” she reminisces. “He played the organ, guitar, and ukulele…by ear. And he was a great dancer!”
It became quickly apparent to them both that a love of the arts was something they could share together. After marrying, they built a winter home in Indian Wells, where the two became founders of the McCallum Theatre, along with Bob and Dolores Hope and Gerald and Betty Ford. “Bill was very involved in the construction of the theatre,” Marilyn recalls proudly. “He worked closely with the architects throughout the entire project.” Marilyn remains actively involved with the theatre to this day and serves on its board.
When the Tennitys moved to Santa Barbara several decades ago, their involvement with the Lobero was an “automatic evolution.” “The Lobero is THE theatre in Santa Barbara and it was just a natural fit,” Marilyn remembers. The Tennitys became beloved fixtures at Lobero events and it has benefited greatly from their kindness and generosity over the years.
Marilyn is now a Cornerstone Society member and a long-time member of the Associates. She stills enjoys many Lobero performances every season. The Lobero Courtyard welcomes and entertains hundreds of performing artists, theatre goers, and donors every year, providing a picturesque and intimate venue for many art lovers who, like Bill and Marilyn Tennity, treasure the special setting, history, and world-class performing arts that distinguish the Lobero.