A real estate professional has been identified as one of 17 people killed this week after mudslides pummeled a Southern California neighborhood. Rebecca Riskin, a REALTOR® and founder of Riskin Partners in Santa Barbara, Calif., died in the natural disaster that hit Montecito, Calif.
Riskin, 61, was described by colleagues as an “exceptional woman” who demonstrated strength, grace, and elegance, her company posted in memoriam on Facebook.
“It is with heavy hearts we share that our dear friend and partner, Rebecca Riskin, has passed away as a result of the tragic flooding and mudslides in Montecito,” the company’s statement read on Facebook. “The confirmation of her loss is incredibly devastating to her friends, family, and our community. Per her wishes, we intend to carry out her life’s work with the same strength, grace, and elegance that wholly defined Rebecca. Rebecca was an exceptional woman.”
Riskin was swept away when a mudslide came through her home’s living room. Other family members who were in other parts of the home at the time were spared. Riskin’s body was found Wednesday near a highway, according to news reports.
Prior to her real estate career, Riskin was a ballerina with the American Ballet Theater in New York. After an injury ended her dance career, she began selling real estate in the Los Angeles area in 1979, and focused her business in Montecito, Calif., when she moved there in 1990. She is credited with closing more than $2 billion in high-end real estate sales since founding the brokerage in the early 1990s, ABC 7 News reports. Her company bio describes her as a woman with a strong work ethic and a love for architecture and design. In 2016, the Wall Street Journal named Riskin Partners the number eight team in the nation based on sales by teams comprised of five agents or fewer.
Riskin is survived by her husband and two adult children.
Rescue crews continue to search for survivors amid the mud in Montecito. Up to 43 people were still missing, as of Thursday evening. The mudslides have destroyed an estimated 60 single-family residences. An additional 1,500 homes remain under threat. Torched ground from wildfires in the area mixed with recent flash floods sparked the mudslides. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in areas still under threat.
Source: REALTOR® Magazine and “Name of 17 SoCal Mudslide, Flooding Victims Released as Number of Missing Surges to 43,” ABC News 7 (Jan. 11, 2018)