This Years Tustin Area Man & Woman:


Kim DeBenedetto


Mark Eliot

Tustin Area Man & Women of the Year 2022 Group Photo

Kim DeBenedetto

A 60-year Tustin resident and Tustin High School graduate, Kim came full circle as an educator in her old elementary school. She raised her two sons here and has a vested interest in the community, evidenced by volunteering as a PTO parent while juggling career and home responsibilities. Once retired, Kim jumped in full-time as a volunteer with Tustin Area Council for Fine Arts, serving as president (2018 to 2019) and vice-president of fund development (2020).

Kim’s love of history and her own ancestry found an outlet in the Tustin Preservation Conservancy where she served as president in 2016. She wrote an architectural walking tour of Old Town Tustin, collaborating with Tustin’s Parks & Recreation Department to provide this opportunity to residents. In 2015, Kim and another retired teacher revamped the Tustin Area Historical Society’s popular History in a Box program for TUSD 3rd graders, adding digital activities to align with state standards.

Kim and husband Mitch enjoy their blended families, which include three sons and a grandson.

Nominated by Tustin Area Council for Fine Arts

Nominees

Tammis Berkheimer (Nominated by Tustin Dollars for Scholars & the Rotary Club of Tustin-Santa Ana)
Randi Bernstein (Nominated by the Exchange Club of Tustin)
Kim DeBenedetto (Nominated by the Tustin Area Council for Fine Arts)
Lori Conconi (Nominated by the Tustin American Legion Post 227)
Marsha Corzine (Nominated by the Tustin Area Woman’s Club)
Jody Hudson (Nominated by Alzheimer’s Orange County)
Irene Jones (Nominated by the Tustin Chamber of Commerce)
Jen Kohlenberger (Nominated by Donna Peery, Tustin Woman of the Year 2010, Gretchen Whisler, Tustin Woman of the Year 2013 & Pete Beatty, Tustin Man of the Year 2014)
Soledad Rivera (Nominated by Richard Nelson, Tustin Man of the Year 2019)
Charlotte Waggoner (Nominated by the Tustin Community Foundation)

Mark Eliot

Mark is an award-winning public relations professional, writer, cartoonist, and graphic artist who, while applying his talents in his 36-year career as Director of Communications and Public Information for the Tustin Unified School District (retiring in 2021), has also given back to this community on his personal time. As a long-time member of Rotary Club of Tustin/Santa Ana, Mark has volunteered year after year at Tustin’s Chili Cook-Off, Tiller Days, and at the Tustin Senior Center. He served as public relations and marketing advisor to the Tustin Area Council for Fine Arts (2004 to 2016) and has continuously donated many volunteer hours for TACFA’s annual Broadway in The Park. Recognized as one of the Tustin Community Foundation’s “Superheroes of Tustin” in 2019, Mark has been invaluable as the entire community’s liaison to the Tustin Unified School District and is a selfless, dedicated volunteer, always going that extra mile whenever a non-profit needs assistance.

Mark is the proud father of Ashley Eliot, who has followed in her father’s footsteps with a career in communications.

Nominated by Mary Hill, 2002 Tustin Area Woman of the Year

Nominees

Barry Ackerman (Nominated by the Tustin Community Foundation, Tony Wong and Erin Nielsen Tustin Man & Woman of the Year 2018)
Kurt Bensworth (Nominated by the Tustin Area Historical Society & Tustin American Legion Post 227)
Mark Eliot (Nominated by Mary Hill, Tustin Woman of the Year 2002)
James Hass (Nominated by the Rotary Club of Tustin-Santa Ana)
Bruce Junor (Nominated by the Foothill Communities Association)
Jef Maddock (Nominated by the Tustin Chamber of Commerce)
John E. Nielsen (Nominated by the Tustin Host Lions Club)

List of Tustin Men & Women of the Year

1957 – Jack Hall*
1958 – William Moses*
1959 – Victor Grant*
1960 – Eugene Jacobson*
1961 – G. O. Bixler*
1962 – Buel Williamson*
1963 – Glenn Sissel*
1964 – Pete Berlin*
1965 – Gene Thomas*
1966 – Earl Rowenhorst* / Margaret Pottenger
1967 – Joe Carruba* / Lee Wagner *
1968 – Gerald Mack / Lucille Moses*
1969 – Lou Gerding* / Ruth Poe*
1970 – Msgr. John Sammon* / Ida McCalla*
1971 – James Hein* / Helen Holthe*
1972 – Ken Lovell* / Pat Furniss*
1973 – Frank Greinke* / Isa Varela*
1974 – Walt Fredriksen* / Maureen Holthe*
1975 – Ron Oster / Maureen Rischard*
1976 – A.J. (Tony) Coco / Vivien Owen*
1977 – Bob Hill* / Jan Klingelhofer*
1978 – Howard Pinkstaff / Barbara Benson*
1979 – Stephen Schuster* / Carol Jordan
1980 – Arthur Peterson* / Cherrill Cady
1981 – Howard Jamieson* / Janet Schwartz*
1982 – Dean McCormick* / Anne Schultz*
1983 – Cliff Polston / Frances Logan*
1984 – Dr. Maury Ross*/ Linda Andrews
1985 – Joe Langley / Betty Miller*
1986 – Charles Puckett / Margaret Greinke
1987 – Tom Aufdemberg / Joyce Hanson
1988 – Dick Edgar* / Barbara O’Donnell
1989 – Eugene Thomas* / Margarete Thompson*
1990 – Jim D. Kane*/ Jill Leach
1991 – Don Biery / Phyllis Spivey*
1992 – David Nisson / Judy Houlihan

1993 – Vic Gorham* / Angie Kardashian
1994 – Sam Randall / Laurie Gorham*
1995 – Al Baker / Kathy Kelley
1996 – Don Saltarelli / Juanita Lovret*
1997 – David Bryant* / Ceil Kirby Morgan
1998 – Lou Bone / Beverly Barrington*
1999 – Jack Shafer* / Marisa L. Charette
2000 – Todd Ferguson / Loretta Robinson
2001 – Gary Siegel / Judy Schnitzer
2002 – Don Shubin / Mary Hill
2003 – Bill Hammerle / JoAnn Bolleson*
2004 – Kennedy Hobson / Linda Jennings
2005 – Gerry Aust* / Leslie Pontious Pope
2006 – Ken Henderson / Patti Winter
2007 – Don Ropele / Jeanne Brown*
2008 – Al Enderle* / Kimberly Bass
2009 – Walter Sullens* / Eligia Nicolai
2010 – Lowell Sneathen / Donna Peery
2011 – Christopher Barr / Jean Simon
2012 – Leo Middleton / Wendy Greene
2013 – Robert Ammann / Gretchen Whisler
2014 – Pete Beatty / Amy Nakamoto
2015 – John McGuire / Laurie Cohen-Abelove
2016 – Robert Machado / Susan “Susie” McIntosh
2017 – Lindburgh McPherson / Christine Uribe
2018 – Tony Wong / Erin Nielsen
2019 – Richard Nelson / Patricia Machado
2020 – Suspended
2021 – Mark Eliot / Kim DeBenedetto

*Deceased

2022 Gallery