Lynda’s Legacy: Columnist and Local Cultural Icon Lynda Millner Passes

By David Bolton   |   April 23, 2024
Lynda with her son Dane, daughter Kim, and grandchildren (courtesy photo)

Santa Barbara and Montecito have lost an icon. For two decades, Lynda Millner’s articles and photographs opened the window on countless local nonprofits. She was the first social writer for the Montecito Journal. Week after week, Lynda’s column “Seen Around Town” appeared every Thursday. Her column went beyond merely photographs of those in attendance. It was her pen and her passion that benefitted local organizations – from those connected to history, to those that support social services and those most in need. Lynda cared about each organization she covered, and her work showed that extra step. When you read her column, you learned about the organization.

Lynda during last year’s Fiesta with 2023 El Presidente David Bolton and El Primer Caballero Gonzalo Sarmiento, both longtime friends of Lynda (photo by Issac Hernandez)

With pen in hand, the always present notepad, and her faithful camera, Lynda attended event after event in her glamorous style. She dressed impeccably and carried herself in such an elegant way. Her earlier years as a model remained with her until the end. Together with her husband Don Seth, they were a journalistic team. Lynda covering the events while often bringing Don along. Lynda would write the article. Don would handle the computer side of things. Together, the final product was sent off to the Journal, thousands of words over the years, and countless photographs capturing the spirit of so many local nonprofits. Our community is better thanks to their tireless efforts.

Lynda Millner passed away peacefully this past week. Her beloved husband and journalistic partner Don Seth was by her side.

From covering countless fundraisers to volunteering as a docent, Lynda Millner left her mark on our community.

“Not only did she tell her readers who attended the fundraising events, but she also made sure to include why funds raised were so important for each organization,” said Greg Gorga, executive director of the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. “We will miss her dearly.”

From galas to receptions, Lynda covered events in all corners of our community.

“Lynda always captured the very best of our events and the delight of the guests who were in attendance,” said Luke Swetland, president of the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum. “Lynda extended the visibility and reach of the Museum in the Santa Barbara community. She was a force multiplier for sharing our mission. Lynda was an elegant and gracious lady and a dear friend to the Museum.”

Aside from writing her weekly column, Lynda volunteered as a community docent at both the Santa Barbara Courthouse and her much-loved Casa del Herrero in Montecito. 

“Lynda Millner was like a ray of sunshine at Casa del Herrero, brightening the lives of all who knew her during her many years as a docent,” says Heather Biles, President of the Board of Trustees at Casa Del Herrero. “Her passing leaves us with heavy hearts, but her warmth and the light she brought to every encounter will continue to inspire us all.”

For many years Lynda lived in southern Spain. Her appreciation of Spanish culture was evident. She was named an honorary La Presidente of this past year’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta. Alongside Don, and dressed in true Andalusian style, Lynda attended countless Fiesta-related events throughout town and over so many years.

“We appreciated that when Lynda featured our events and exhibitions, she dug deep into the history to reveal its importance in our community,” said Dacia Harwood, Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. “Her words always further illuminated the good work that we were doing. We are so grateful for her gracious advocacy and support.”

As a journalist and column writer, Lynda inspired others to follow her path, a guiding force along the way.

“In approaching a guest, she was warm, open and interested; not only in the mission of the charity, but in the person or persons who helped to forward that mission,” said Montecito Journal and Voice columnist Sigrid Toye. “The column that bore Lynda’s signature was written in a voice distinctly her own – unmistakable – and one so familiar to her readers over the decades.”

Lynda Millner touched many. Her column was a community treasure. She was, as well.  

Editor’s Note:

For about two years I had the great honor of getting to work with Lynda while editing her column in the paper. She was grace personified with a kindness that emanated through the phone, emails, and her office visits. I miss working with her and she will be dearly missed by myself and all that knew her. – Zach Rosen


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