Millbrae’s Vice Mayor Nadia Holober died Wednesday after a long battle with lung cancer, which she kept private.
She was 54.
Holober, who was born in Canada and moved to Redwood City at the age of 4, spent most of her time growing up in San Carlos. The first in her family to graduate from college, Holober believed in social justice and supporting her community.
“She gave everything of herself to her community and her family,” said husband Richard Holober, adding that being involved with their children had been the center of her world.
Holober graduated from Cañada College before studying at the University of California at Berkeley and the Hastings College of the Law.
Right out of college, Holober worked on a campaign to elect Tom Lantos to Congress. She also helped with the 1982 campaign to elect Jack Smith to the state assembly — which is where she met her husband, Richard, who was working for the California Labor Federation at the time.
“It was love at first sight. She looked like perfection to me,” Richard Holober said of their first meeting, adding he recently learned that she had similarly described him after their first meeting as the man she would marry.
The pair have two grown boys — Reuben, 25, and Evan, 21. The younger son will soon graduate from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
“Nadia was someone who believed very passionately in social justice and peace,” said Richard Holober.
As a result, she became involved in politics throughout the county then focused her efforts on Millbrae, where the family settled in 1991. While the boys grew up, Holober spent time working with on the Millbrae Schools PTA and Mills High School PTO boards and Scouting Parent Committees, and as a parent in AYSO and Lions’ Baseball sports. Prior to her first election to the City Council, Holober represented Millbrae and the First Supervisorial District on the San Mateo County Planning Commission for over six years, including two terms as chair. Holober became particularly interested in the issues being addressed by the commission, which influenced her professional work as a lawyer.
She was an active volunteer prior to running for council helping to plan the city’s 50th anniversary as well as gathering volunteers on a short notice, said her husband.
Holober was first elected to the council in 1999. Due to term limits, she took a two-year gap from 2007-09 when she was re-elected to the council. She served as mayor in the 2003-04 fiscal year. During her time as mayor, Millbrae’s landmark new library opened. Richard Holober emphasized the importance of the library to his wife, who advocated for the bond money to build the facility. Another passion for Holober is the Millbrae Sister Cities Commission, on which she served for 10 years helping to promote the city’s relationship with Mosta, Malta and La Serena, Chile, and launched a Sister City relationship with Kai Ping, China.
Aside from politics, Holober was also very active at St. Dunstan Catholic Church where she served as a Eucharist minister.
A funeral will be held 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 14 at St. Dunstan Catholic Church, 1133 Broadway, Millbrae. A vigil will be held 7 p.m. Monday, May 13 also at St. Dunstan.
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