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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Community Grieves Loss

Sheila Kaye Rogers McDonnell, prominent Del Mar businesswoman, passed away on Sunday, March 4. Born and raised in the Bay Area of Northern California, McDonnell moved to Del Mar in 1991. A true humanitarian, she was a well-respected leader in the community who advocated for women and helped others realize their goals and self-worth.

McDonnell, founder and producer of the Women in Business Symposium, was also an active member of the Del Mar Kiwanis for over 17 years. She was the creator of the “Ugly Dog Contest,” the largest event sponsored by the Del Mar Kiwanis.

Elected President of the Del Mar Chamber of Commerce in 1998, she continued to build the Chamber and was instrumental in the growth of what is now named the San Diego Coastal Chamber of Commerce. She was honored with the “Woman of the Year” in 2009 given by the San Diego Coastal Chamber of Commerce.

McDonnell was known foremost for her love and contribution to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club for over 22 years. She served in Group Sales and was “The Boss” of the Horsemen’s lounge and was instrumental in the education and promotion of horse racing.


In lieu of flowers, consider a donation to the California Equine Retirement Foundation (CERF) in her honor. Address: PO Box 295, Temecula, CA  92950. Call 951-926-4190 for more information.