Loss strikes community: Cancer takes Subia

The Los Medanos College EOPS office lost a well-loved staff member Monday night when longtime counselor Laura Subia lost her battle with cancer. She was 47 years old.
Subia’s coworkers were saddened and shocked at her passing, as many had visited her recently.
In an email to staff, LMC president Bob Kratochvil said Subia was “a gift to LMC.”
Subia grew up in Richmond and attended San Francisco State University. The Brentwood resident started working at LMC as a part-time counselor in 2003 before being hired as a full-time EOPS Counselor in 2005. She held many positions at the college since, including Student Activities Coordinator and Minority Student Retention Specialist. Though she wore many hats, her dedication to helping students never wavered.
“She had a heart of gold,” said counselor Phil Gottlieb, who was at LMC when Subia was first hired. “I have this vision of her walking in with 20, 25 folders, her day’s caseload. She was a very hard worker.”
By all reports, Subia was dedicated to helping Los Medanos students succeed.
“She really cared for students,” said counselor Sophia Ramirez, who started working with Subia in 2007. “She was a huge advocate for the underdog.”
When not assisting students, Subia was a great person to work with, according to the tight-knit group in Student Services.
“She was great to talk to, whether you needed someone to listen, to gripe to, or for advice,” said Ramirez. “She really wanted to get to know you, and she was able to peel the onion quickly.”
Subia mentored UMOJA Counselor Faith Watkins in 2014 when she was first hired by LMC.
“I was at a crossroads in my life. I was pregnant and I couldn’t keep doing my other job as a social worker as a mom. She told me I would be a good counselor,” said Watkins. “She would meet me on Fridays to work with me, which was really nice, because no one wants to stay late on a Friday!”
Dean of Counseling & Student Support Jeffrey Benford was effusive when talking about Subia.
“Laura was deeply passionate, committed and engaged in the practice of social justice. She was authentically herself, quick-witted and possessed the courage required to ask difficult questions, both of herself and colleagues, regarding the theories and assumptions that informed programming and about the thinking that drove resources allocation for the underserved,” said Benford, who was her manager for nine years. “Laura was ‘real’ and consistent about cultural and familial values, so if you visited her during her lunchtime, you’d be offered food. If you seemed not yourself, [she would] ask about how you were doing, and listen with motherly presence, usually suggesting some kind of self-care. No matter what you brought to her, she’d respond without judgment and [with] love. She really understood the redemptive power of community and was a true friend.”
Outside of LMC, she cared deeply for and helped raise her sister’s three children, who she shared a home with, along with their mother. Subia was happy to raise the kids in a multigenerational home, and loved to talk about them with coworkers.
“We would always talk to each other about how our kids loved to get in our beds and wake us up,” remembered EOPS administrative secretary Lisa Gregory. “She was like their second mom.”
Unfortunately, their mother had passed away just a month before Subia. A GoFundMe page has been created to help Subia’s family, which can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/2scs3wvw.
There will be two services at the Holy Cross Cemetery at 2200 E. 18th St. in Antioch. The first will be on Oct. 11 from 4 to 7 p.m., followed by a rosary. The second will be the following day from 9 to 11 a.m., followed by a liturgy.