Marie Kolasinski, a fiery government critic who founded a Christian commune and popular craft store in Costa Mesa, died Monday. She was 90.
Kolasinski died of natural causes, according to a statement from the Piecemakers.
At the Piecemakers Country Store off Adams Avenue on Monday afternoon, employees held back tears as they somberly described Kolasinski as a woman of deep conviction who worked to preserve traditional crafts, such as woodwork and knitting.
"She's one of the most exceptional people I've known, and I will always be grateful to her," said Shirley Chism, who was reading and taking notes in a yellow "Words of Life" booklet written by Kolasinski. "She taught us who our true God is, and she showed us the way back to the Father. She gives meaning to life."
Others will remember Kolasinski more for her clashes with government officials. She held absolutist views when it came to property rights and routinely sparred with City Hall over seemingly trivial issues.