Caroline Vierzba, longtime registrar for , passed away Friday after a five-and-a-half-year battle with lung cancer. She was 67.
Vierzba was diagnosed with fourth stage lung cancer in 2007, though "she never smoked a day in her life," according to PVPHS principal Mitzi Cress. "She defied the odds and survived five years longer than predicted.
"Cancer did not limit her ability to live a full life, and she proudly worked right to the end and made sure that we had a smooth opening of this school year."
Born May 16, 1945, Caroline Vierzba moved with her husband, Ed Vierzba, to the Palos Verdes Peninsula in 1986. Her three children—David, Jason and Nicole—grew up in the system, Cress wrote in a message to parents.
After volunteering in the Parent-Teacher-Student Association—serving as treasurer for , and the PTSA Council—Caroline Vierzba took a part-time job as a bookkeeper for the before she was hired in 1995 as the registrar at PVPHS, Cress wrote.
Cress said that Vierzba was often known as "Mother Caroline" by her colleagues in the counseling office.
"When new families arrived at Peninsula High, (Vierzba) took the time to listen to their story," Cress said. "There was no limit on how much time Caroline would spend with each family … it was whatever they needed."
According to Vierzba's profile page on PVPHS.com, prior to her 17-year tenure as registrar, no other PVPHS registrar had served for more than 2 years.
"Caroline was an extraordinary person who brought out the best in all of us with her patience and pure goodness," Cress said. "Caroline taught us that each day counts, and there are no bad days."
A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at in Rancho Palos Verdes, and the burial will follow at in Rancho Palos Verdes.
In lieu of flowers, her family requests that donations be made in her honor to City of Hope or the .