Mignon Scherer Passes, One of Principle Organizers for the 30 Foot Height Limit,

by on April 17, 2017 · 14 comments

in Ocean Beach

Mignon Scherer – date unknown

Mignon Scherer of Point Loma passed on March 25th earlier this year at the age of 92.

She and her family had lived in their residence near the high school for 50 years. Born Mignon Harwith on June 27, 1924, in  Detroit, MI, she was the youngest of three girls.

During World War II, Mignon was a “Rosie the Riveter” and worked on B-29 “Superfortress” Bombers at the Chrysler Plant in Detroit.

Mignon was best known locally as one of the main organizers in the effort to place the thirty-foot limit on coastal construction in San Diego. Back in the early 1970s she helped lead the campaign to get it on conservative San Diego’s ballot – no slight feat.  The initiative did pass in 1972 and is still on the books today. In fact, at a 40th anniversary celebration of the height limit was put together by the OB Historical Society held in 2012 and Mignon was to be the main speaker – but had to cancel due to illness.

Some of her latest activism was her involvement in the Ocean Beach Grassroots Organization (OBGO) and the citizens’ effort for public financing of campaigns.

Here’s more about Mignon that we learned from the U-T obituary:

She was a fashion model briefly in her late teens.

Mignon got her teaching degree and taught grade school in Detroit.

She met her late husband Robert “Bob” Scherer and they were married in 1947.

Mignon and Bob moved to San Francisco in 1952 where she had her first child, Marta, and in 1954 moved to San Diego where they had a second daughter, Lee Ann, in 1956 and in 1958 their last child, John, was born.

She went on to manage mayoral candidate Virginia Taylor in 1972

She also fought for environmental causes.

At the age of 58 she obtained a Master’s in Psychology degree and practiced from her home until retiring in 1999.


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori Saldana April 17, 2017 at 11:50 pm

Mignon was a remarkable woman- a passionate and intelligent activist, who did her homework and helped educate and inspire others to take action as well.

Condolences to her family and friends.
She will be missed by many.


John April 18, 2017 at 7:58 am

Thank you so much Mr. Gormlie for mentioning my mother’s passing in the OB Rag. She accomplished so much in her life her obituary did not do her justice. She always loved Ocean Beach and continued to support causes to keep OB from becoming yet another gentrified community. Thank you Lori for your kind words as well, Mignon was a great fan of yours and so am I. Yes, fighting for a 30ft. height limit was quite a feat during that time as most of the politicians and big money people treated her as just a bored housewife. Boy, did she prove them wrong. I am proud to see that many people in OB are still willing to get out and fight to support the 30ft limit. She was also the first person I knew that tried to educate people about the dangers of Global warming way back in the early 1970’s. Mignon lives on through her work for OB, San Diego and the Planet. She was also a great mom and I’ll miss her very much.

John Scherer


Frank Gormlie April 18, 2017 at 11:01 am

John, thanks so much for your additional insights into your mother’s life. Can you date the photo we used?


John April 18, 2017 at 11:55 am

I’m guessing that would be around 2005 or so. She still had that look of being ready to take on the world.


Frank Gormlie April 20, 2017 at 7:19 pm

I think it was earlier than that. We all in OBGo met her circa 2001-02 and it appears the photo was taken before then.


John April 22, 2017 at 3:08 pm

Well, you may be right about that and she really loved OBGo. Many great people in that group. She was ageless.


Debbie April 18, 2017 at 8:55 am

A lovely lady…sweet, smart, sassy, determined, kind and generous!


Geoff Page April 18, 2017 at 11:42 am

I feel fortunate for having known this amazing lady. I met her on the Peninsula Community Planning Board where she was an elected member in her eighties. I used to deliver the PCPB agenda to her house when I was the chair because she was not a computer person. I heard all about the work she did in the 70s gathering signatures and getting Proposition D on the ballot. Everyone in San Diego owes this lady a debt of gratitude for the legacy she and he friends left behind, a coastline that is not walled off by tall buildings as is the case on the East coast. We all owe her for the 30-foot height limit rule. To the end, she was still an activist. The last time I saw her was when she hosted a gathering at her house for former city councilman John Hartley who is heading up an effort called Clean Elections. She was one of a kind and we were all fortunate to have her around for so many years. She will be missed.


Marc Snelling April 18, 2017 at 12:47 pm

Rest in Peace Mignon.


Micporte April 18, 2017 at 11:01 pm

Everyone in San Diego owes this woman a debt of gratitude for the legacy of protecting the coastline from greedy developers in the 70’s… Well said, Mr. Page. I remember her from my youth, my parents worked with her on the 30 ft height limit, she was A NAME OF IMPORTANCE in our household that I will never forget. She was a true activist, a humble and effective fighter for environmental justice and sane politics. Thank you OBRAG for this article. Thanks to Mignon Scherer for her well-lived life.


Stu April 22, 2017 at 10:38 am

Thanks for the notice. Met Mignon a few times over the years and truly respected her and her activism. My condolences to her family and our SD community which will miss her activism


Marta Scherer Garland April 22, 2017 at 4:25 pm

Thank you all for the remembrances of mother. She was very passionate about environmental causes, and community. She would have been very happy to know so many will miss her and cared about her. She lived a long and active life, and an inspiration to me.


Michael Brice August 1, 2019 at 8:17 pm

Very sad to hear this…albeit two years after her death. I stopped by her house and neighbors on numerous occasions trying to find out what happened to her as i hadn’t heard from her for months. I delivered her medication for many years and she became more of a friend…in fact even though she had retired from her practice, she counseled my wife and I when we were going through a tough patch, for no charge. She really cared about people. I had many interesting political conversations with her there in her living room although we didn’t always agree. The world lost an extraordinary person and intellect. I will miss her.


John Scherer August 2, 2019 at 9:19 am

Hello Michael, I’m Mignons son and had the opportunity to meet you at my mothers house on one of your deliveries several years ago. I just wanted you to know that she always gushed about how much she enjoyed your visits. You really were a bright spot in her life. I had offered to pick up her prescriptions for her but she wouldn’t allow me to. I suspect it was just so she could continue to have you visit her.
Thank you for being so nice to my mom!

John Scherer


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