photo of Teri (seated), her caretaker Irma, great friend Dorine and son, Ryan by Brian Feinzimer
Teri Rudin the effervescent mother of our Downtown Inc. BID Manager, Ryan Smolar, passed away last Sunday night after sufferring a long, disabilitating bout with a rare disease called Cerebellar Ataxia. Though Teri became affected with the disease around the same time Ryan started working with Downtown Santa Ana, the two remained very close, visited often and even collaborated on some of downtown's favorite events like Savor Santa Ana and Celebrate DTSA.
"I'll never forget in 2016 when my mom helped deck out the Spurgeon Promenade for Savor Santa Ana," says Smolar. "She was buzzing around the area in an electric wheelchair commanding an army of volunteers and event staff."
Hours later, the Promenade was transformed into an outdoor venue like we haven't seen before: there was luxurious, upholstered seating provided by Chameleon Chair Collection, fancy linen tabletops by Classic Party Rentals and Latin Marimba music and theatrical entertainment arranged by friends at the Santa Ana Business Council.
photos above of Savor Santa Ana 2016 by Brian Feinzimer
The night was a total smash and it served as an early precrusor for the growing activation of the Promenade, a long-time idea of the Arrellanes family, owners of Mega Furniture. They have continued to activate the Promenade with "Dancing on the Street" attracting unbelievable crowds to the DTSA 1st Saturday Artwalk.
photo of Dancing on the Streets by Matthew Martinez, June 2017 during DTSA 1st Saturday Artwalk
Before becoming an iconic designer in the professional events industry, Teri honed her skills by throwing childhood parties for her son, Ryan. Recognizing a talent for making events special, Teri entrepreneurially opened a woman-owned party planning business in her garage. She went on to run the specialty linen department for LA-based Regal Rents and finally partnered with an architect and her ex-husband to open her next company, Chameleon Chair Collection.
The impact of her designs are far-reaching: Teri’s Chameleons continue to be featured prominently in most of the major wedding and events industry publications, and at an amazing array of events from weddings, to major Las Vegas Events, Hollywood award shows, and film premieres, and a long list of social, charity and corporate events.
"I loved getting to bring my mom into my communtiy work," said Ryan, "she brought world class event professionals and designs to help us on the simplest of street fairs."
Teri Rudin will be remembered for her great sense of joy, welcomeness, laughter, creativity and unique talent. "Many people are telling me her qualities live on in me," said Ryan, "and that gives me a great sense of purpose in continuing to share her work ethic and her embracing warmth with others."
In lieu of sending flowers, please consider donating to the National Ataxia Foundation (https://ataxia.org/donate), the organization researching the disease that took Teri from us too soon. For information about upcoming memorial services, please contact us.