Onorato, Carole Anne
Carole Anne Onorato, longtime member of the Placer County Board of Education and a former top state transportation and water official, died Sunday, June 10, three days after marking her 55th wedding anniversary.
Mrs. Onorato died at Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento following a short illness surrounded by her family.
She was 75.
A third-generation San Franciscan, Mrs. Onorato served in the administrations of Governors Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown and George Deukmejian. She was elected to eight terms on the Placer County Board of Education representing the eastern portion of the county stretching from Tahoe City to the eastern edges of Auburn.
As a homemaker in Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe, Mrs. Onorato embarked on a career in public service in the mid-1970s, being named to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency by Governor Brown and winning election to the Placer County Board of Education in 1976.
While residing in Squaw Valley, she was instrumental in the establishment of the Tahoe City library and served as a representative on the Placer County Library Commission.
In 1978, Mrs. Onorato was appointed the first chairperson of the California Transportation Commission (CTC). During her three years on the CTC, she was instrumental in directing millions of dollars for transportation improvements across California. She was a driving force in the construction of the Highway 80/37 interchange at Vallejo, the Highway 65 bypass in Roseville, and a new highway at Livingston that removed the last signal light on Highway 99 in the San Joaquin Valley.
Mrs. Onorato subsequently served as chair of the State Water Resources Control Board during both the Brown and Deukmejian administrations where she was deeply involved in a variety of water quality issues including the problem of toxic runoff into Central California’s Kesterson Wildlife Refuge.
During her 30 years on the Placer County Board of Education, Mrs. Onorato was a tireless advocate for improving educational opportunities for students especially those with disabilities. She won her eighth term on the board in 2004 running unopposed.
For all her public service, Mrs. Onorato said her greatest achievement was being a wife, mother and grandmother.
She is survived by her beloved husband, Fred; daughter, Christine McKevitt (Tim) of San Mateo; and sons Brad Onorato of Napa, Dave Onorato (Janet) of Davis and Peter Onorato (Dianne) of Minden, Nev. She was preceded in death by her son, Brian. Mrs. Onorato was the eldest of six children of the late William and Christine Newsom.
Other survivors include her grandchildren Gavin Onorato, Joe and William Onorato, Max McKevitt and Angelina Onorato and Louise Hughes of San Francisco, her best friend of nearly 70 years.
Mrs. Onorato graduated from Notre Dame des Victoires High School in San Francisco and attended Lone Mountain College, also in San Francisco.
A memorial service will be scheduled later in the summer. Remembrances should be made to the Placer County Library, 350 Nevada Street, Auburn, CA 95603.
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