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Clare Georgina Nisbet

1980 - 2013, Santa Barbara

August 8, 1980 – September 11, 2013

Clare was born in Glasgow Scotland, and was the second of three daughters born to Roger and Mary Nisbet. For the first ten years of her life Clare lived in Glasgow surrounded by her sisters Lynn and Julie, her grandparents who lived in the same neighborhood, and a posse of friends. Clare moved to Santa Barbara in 1991, and attended Santa Barbara Middle School where she made friends who became soul mates, and developed a love of biking that stayed with her throughout her life. She became a true Santa Barbara girl – swimming in the ocean, playing varsity water polo, graduating from Santa Barbara High School, and completing a degree in English Literature from UC Santa Barbara. Her first job out of college was with the Santa Barbara Independent where she spent several happy years before setting out on an adventure to live in Argentina with her partner, now husband, Paul Rivas. Having almost no Spanish when she arrived, Clare studied at the University of Buenos Aires and became fluent in the language. This achievement greatly enriched the support and understanding that she could provide to her future patients. Clare and Paul explored South America with curiosity, energy, and enthusiasm. The culmination of their years in South America was a remarkable overland journey from Buenos Aires to Nicaragua. She captured in her blogs, Chronicles of Falling off the Map, and The Big Schlep, the wonder, exhilaration, despair, gratitude, and sheer joy of exploration of her years in South America.

On returning to Santa Barbara she threw herself with typical enthusiasm and determination into preparing for a nursing career. For the first time in her life, Clare had a vocation and one that needed all of her gifts – compassion, judgment, strength, intelligence, and an ability to help people find happiness and laughter even in their darkest hour. Clare completed her preparatory science courses at Santa Barbara City College while working for Planned Parenthood, and then was admitted to the nursing program at Columbia University. On graduating from Columbia and qualifying as an RN, she returned to Santa Barbara, with an intense desire to be a hospital nurse. Following a few months of employment at the County Jail and Casa Esparanza, she was thrilled to be appointed to a nursing position in Adult Oncology at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Clare found a home in the caring community of Ward 6C and both patients and staff became like a second family. She was so grateful for the opportunity to support, and receive support from, this remarkable group of people.

Clare is remembered by friends and family for her wonderful, spontaneous sense of humor, her unconditional generosity, her refusal to accept from herself anything but her best, and her ability to understand and share the suffering of others. She loved the ocean and there will be a celebration of her life at Goleta Beach on Saturday, September 21st, starting at 3PM, and with an appreciation of Clare at 4PM. CLICK HERE for more details and to RSVP. All are welcome to join us in celebrating this short but extraordinary life.

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