Raised in La Mesa and a graduate of Grossmont High School and San Diego State University, Laurnie was recognized for her college efforts graduating Mortar Board for her scholastic and academic activities. Laurnie was selected with a committee of 6 people in 1969 to 1972 which included the Dean of Women, Dean Warmer, Assistant Dean Judy Halloran, the president of the college Dr. Love and 2 additional students presented their gathered information regarding the academic standing to Phi Beta Kappa with the vision of having a Phi Beta Kappa chapter on campus. This vision and efforts did assist in not only giving San Diego State a Phi Beta Kappa chapter but our committee knew with the status of having this chapter would help in changing the name from San Diego State College to San Diego State University which students benefit from today.
For 7 years at San Diego State College in 1967 to 1974 Laurnie brought culture to the students, faculty, alumni and San Diego Community by creating an art gallery at Aztec Center Student Union at San Diego State University. For 1 ½ years she chaired the Aztec Center and for 7 years was on the Aztec Center Board of Directors and used student funds to create this art gallery. Monthly for 7 years she voluntarily installed, promoted and created receptions for these exhibits. These exhibits included faculty exhibits, student masters exhibits and nationally recognized artists.
Laurnie’s current volunteer activity resume contains an impressive list of civic engagement which includes her participation on the USO board for over 22 years; over 20 years as a La Jolla Rotary Club member; 8 years creating and directing the Northeast Texas Film Commission and spending 2 years on the Center for World Music board and is currently active with this organization.
She is very active with the La Jolla Rotary Club creating the themes and décor for the summer party experiences at the League House for the past 11 years. The seniors at this home look forward to this event annually. For 15 years she has coordinated the La Jolla Rotary/USO Thanksgiving Dinner which serves the holiday meals to active duty military and their families. She also was active on the Rotary committee which refurbished the Police Storefront in Pacific Beach.
For 10 years Laurnie created the art exhibit for the Stars in our Eyes Rotary program. She collected and exhibited student art from four local high schools, Bishops, Preuss, La Jolla Country Day and La Jolla High School art departments for the La Jolla community to appreciate. This effort develops pride and confidence in the high school students.
The Center for World Music helps create weekly music and dance lessons for over 5,000 children in the San Diego School system. She with one other person celebrated the 50th Anniversary by creating a festival which was free to the public in Scripps Park with 110 performers from The Center for World Music representing the cultures that have been teaching music and dance in the school system.
For 2 ½ years Laurnie was on the board of directors for the Hospital Infantil de las Californias, a children’s hospital in Mesa de Otay in Tijuana which medically aids children in Mexico and Southern California. She was active with this board from the inception of the children’s hospital.
Laurnie is on the Dancing with the Stars Committee for the second year in creating the décor, marketing and collecting auction items. This event benefits the San Diego Police Museum.
Dividing her time between La Jolla and her part-time home in Palestine, Texas, Laurnie has lent her promotional energies to the economic redevelopment of Palestine’s downtown core by assisting with the restoration of its historic buildings; one such way was her creation of a 6000 sq. ft. yuletide Santa ‘s Village in one of the vacated buildings. Its success in drawing huge numbers back to the downtown area for 5 years won her the Grand Marshal’s spot in the Christmas parade. Currently Laurnie is developing a fund raising event to protect the historic Carnegie Library in Palestine. She will be hosting a garden tea party at her 1852 antebellum home in Texas in the Spring of 2016. Civic leaders in Palestine are supporting her efforts.
Laurnie prides herself for successfully navigating the waters of two of San Diego’s primary industries: the military and tourism. She realizes that the rewards and satisfaction of helping in the community are worth the effort.
Laurnie Durisoe is very proud of her family heritage.
Her love for the military and giving back by volunteering for over 20 years at the San Diego USO stems from her father’s dedication of over 25 years in the Navy. He retired as a commander and her mother and father instilled in her the love for the military and giving back to the military community. Her mother, a native daughter of San Diego, spent most of her business career working for the family shoe store chain, Universal Boot Shops and La Jolla lodging business.
At the age of 13, Laurnie was actively employed in the La Jolla hotel trade.
At present Laurnie and her family are deeply engaged in remodeling an historic iconic La Jolla hotel property. The completed Pantai Inn, an ocean front Balinese-themed luxury boutique hotel, has already achieved international acclaim and has five-star ratings.
It took Laurnie and her family members 43 years to restore a special part of historic La Jolla with buildings dating from 1904 to the 1960’s. Pantai is ranked one of the finest hotels in San Diego. This was a legacy effort for her grandfather and the Village of La Jolla.