After a brief but courageous struggle, LiAnn passed away peacefully August 14, 2006, from cancer, in San Francisco, surrounded by her father and brothers, Daniel and Peder. She lit the world with her sweet nature, radiant smile and generosity of spirit for her loving devoted family and all her many heartbroken friends. She was happy, loved life and enriched the lives of all who knew her. She was 48. LiAnn was born in Lisbon, North Dakota in 1958; she lived briefly in Marin County as a child when her dad was pastor at Christ the Victor Church in Fairfax, CA. The family returned to North Dakota where she completed public school. She was active in high school theatricals, starring as Mama in "I Remember Mama," which is set in San Francisco. An accomplished artist, she continued her education at the University of North Dakota where she majored in Art History.
After receiving her degree, she worked for two years at an advertising agency in Minneapolis as a graphic artist, but disliked the cut-throat world of advertising and followed her friend Diane Thorson to San Francisco, where she began a career in the health products industry. After first working for Total Life Health on Taraval for nine years, she launched her own wholesale business, Golden Gate Brokerage, a brokerage firm for the health products industry. She was honored by the National Nutritional Foods Association many times, receiving awards for her excellence; she had served as a board member for the Northern Pacific Region of the NNFA since its inception, and was still serving at the time of her death. Besides being a successful entrepreneur, LiAnn loved to sing in her sweet, vibrant soprano and sang several years with the SF Bach Choir. Friends and family will cherish memories of her charming rendition of "Santa Baby" at Christmas time. She was a gifted artist and looked forward to a time when she could retire to her home in Iowa and paint. Her artistic talent was also evident in her lovely garden in her Sunset District home, where she spent many weekends working with her colorful flowers. She loved parties, and always held her Christmas "White Elephant" party in mid-December in her home. Infinitely caring and generous, she feted her friends with wonderful birthday celebrations and gifts every year.
LiAnn is survived by her parents, John and Lina Rotto and brothers, John and Daniel of Decorah, Iowa and brother, Peder of Lisbon, North Dakota; sisters-in law, Beth and Ida and nieces, Ida, Sophia and Ingrid. She is also survived by her friends, Diane Thorson of Aptos, CA and Anna, Kathleen and Eileen O'Connor, Allie, Betsy and Patricia of San Francisco, and her beloved Boston Terrier Betty. Her family would like to thank the medical staff of San Francisco General for their kindness and compassion during her final days.
A private Memorial Service was held in her garden on Wednesday afternoon, August 16 and her ashes will be taken to Iowa with her family for Burial. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Casa de las Madres, 1850 Mission St., Ste. B, San Francisco, CA 94103.