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Celestial Summer Dove Cassman, 1976-2011

Celestial Summer Dove Cassman, 35, of Santa Cruz, Calif., died Thursday, September 1, 2011. Courtesy photo.




Celestial Summer Dove Cassman, 35, beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, auntie, friend, colleague, artist and philanthropist, died unexpectedly while vacationing in Hawaii on the island of Maui on Sept. 1, 2011.

Celestial Summer Dove was born on June 15, 1976, into the loving arms of her parents in Nanakuli, Hawaii.

She spent her formative years growing up in Lake County, Calif. She graduated from Clear Lake High School in 1994 and attended UC Santa Cruz, graduating with honors in political science.

She took some time to travel after college, exploring a large portion of South America and then moved to Portland, Oregon, where she worked for a nonprofit affordable housing and community building organization.

She decided to become an attorney, studied hard to take entrance exams, and then selected the UC Davis law school.

During law school, Celestial completed a public interest fellowship where she assisted indigent clients with housing, benefits and employment issues. She also worked as a teaching assistant, and served as co-chair of a nonprofit legal foundation.

She graduated in the top 5 percent of her class and began her professional career at McDonough Holland & Allen law firm in Sacramento in 2004. She ultimately followed her dream to be near the coast and moved to Santa Cruz in 2007.

Until her tragic and untimely death, Celestial enjoyed life and her career in public law, working for the law firm Atchison, Barisone, Condotti and Kovacevich, as deputy city attorney for the coastal California cities of Santa Cruz, Capitola and Half Moon Bay.

Celestial served on the board of directors and volunteered many hours to Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Santa Cruz County, which supports abused and neglected children.

Celestial, or “Dove” as family call her, enjoyed spending quality time with family and friends. She appreciated the beauty of nature and especially loved the beach.

Some of her favorite pastimes included cooking, yoga, walking on the beach, riding her bike, learning to surf and paddle board, writing, drawing and creating art.

Dove especially enjoyed creating and making thoughtful, handmade gifts for loved ones.

She could often be seen pedaling her bicycle or riding her pink motor scooter to work, complete with high heels, business suit and a flower in her hair.

Dove was so very special, had a passion for life and was a joy to be around. She loved animals and cared sweetly for her two cats.

Celestial Summer Dove is survived by her mother, Deborah Bevington and Alex Newfield Sr. of Lake County, Calif.; and father, Ken Cassman and Susan Cassman of Oceanside, Calif.

She also is survived by her devoted sisters, Crystal, Charity, Shawnee, Jessica and Marissa, as well as her grandparents Mary Ellen and Alan Cassman of Los Angeles.

Additionally, she is survived by her aunts and uncles, Joan and Michael and Ted and Beth of the San Francisco Bay area; as well as her adoring nephews and niece, Jon, Josh and Ali; and her cousins; Jason, Cole, Julia, Tim, Danny and Jake. We will miss her dearly.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 3 p.m. at Lighthouse Point, Santa Cruz, by the ocean she loved. A memorial Web page can be found at

Flowers may be delivered to the Surfing Museum at Lighthouse Point at 701 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz 95060, on Sept. 24.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Celestial Dove Cassman’s name to CASA, 813 Freedom Boulevard, Watsonville, CA 95076 or at .

A beautiful soul is never forgotten. Where there are happy memories, there will always be love. We will mourn the loss of such an amazing, bright, loving and generous human being. Her precious light will endure through the good she did in life and all who loved her.

We will never forget Dove.

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