Laura McAvoy and Sol Chooljian

Laura McAvoy and Sol Chooljian: A Legacy of Public Service to Our Community

Attorney Laura McAvoy and IT consultant Sol Chooljian have created a legacy of public service to our community over the course of the last 50 years. The longtime Camarillo residents are selfless advocates for community-based not-for-profits and have freely shared their time, considerable talents, and treasure with organizations in the areas of education, youth services, sports, and health care. Through their support of St. John’s Hospitals, the couple continues to advance high-quality health care in Ventura County.

The family’s legacy of public service to our community began with Laura’s parents. Amy and Douglas McAvoy moved in the early 1950s from the San Fernando Valley to Oxnard. In 1966, the family relocated to Camarillo. Laura’s parents became well known for their residential construction company, McAvoy-Ventura Corp., and their community engagement. Amy, a mathematician and licensed architect, and Doug, a contractor, designed and built thousands of affordable, high-quality homes in Ventura County, including entire subdivisions in Camarillo, Oxnard, Ojai, and Ventura. 

In his spare time, Doug was a longtime member of Rancheros Visitadores, the Humanitarian Gift Society at St. John’s Regional Medical Center (SJRMC), and the Pacesetters Gift Society at St. John’s Hospital Camarillo (SJHC; then known as Pleasant Valley Hospital). He also helped create the first facility of the Boys and Girls Club of Camarillo (BGCC). Amy served in leadership positions at a wide range of non-profit organizations, including the auxiliary of the BGCC, the board of directors of Interface Children Family Services, Soroptimists, and the SJHC Community Board, among many others. 

Laura and Sol met in the early 1970s at UCLA while she was completing her law degree and where he obtained his MBA. In 1975, the couple moved to Camarillo where Sol continued his career as a business management and IT consultant while Laura specialized in corporate, energy, trust and estate, and real estate law, and became a partner at Nordman, Cormany, Hair & Compton. She is currently a partner at Musick, Peeler & Garrett, LLP, anchoring its Ventura County office. She has served as general counsel to several publicly-traded and private companies, families, and non-profit organizations. 

Throughout the decades, the couple has supported a wide range of non-profit organizations in Ventura County. Laura has served on the board of directors and held board officer positions at several organizations, including United Way of Ventura County, Ventura County Community Foundation, Interface Children Family Services, and California State University Channel Islands Foundation. She is the current Chair of the Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association, Livingston Caregivers, and of the separate Livingston Memorial Foundation. Sol served on the board of directors of BGCC for more than 25 years and volunteered with Ventura County Boy Scouts, Camarillo Eagles Youth Soccer Club, and Ventura Junior Livestock Auction Committee, to name a few. 

The McAvoy-Chooljian family has been frequently recognized for their commitment to the community. Some of the recognitions include that Amy received the Camarillo Woman of the Year award in 1989, Doug received the Joel McCrea Award from the BGCC in 1981 as did Sol in 2004, Laura received the Ventura County Volunteer of the Year Award in 2000, and the Ben E. Nordman Public Service Award in 1993. Laura and Sol were awarded the Spirit of Philanthropy Award by St. John’s Healthcare Foundation in 2017.

St. John’s has held a special place in the hearts of the McAvoy-Chooljian family. Laura’s sisters were born at the old St. John’s Hospital in Oxnard; Laura’s and Sol’s two children were born at SJHC. Over the years, various family members received compassionate, high-quality care at both hospitals’ emergency departments under various circumstances. The couple also recalled fondly how a chaplain at SJRMC provided spiritual care and comfort to the family within an hour of Amy’s admission to the hospital with a life-threatening illness. 

Laura and Sol view St. John’s relationship with the community as a mutually beneficial and mutually reinforcing partnership. They believe the hospitals meet the community’s major health needs by providing access to excellent care and continuously innovating in order to offer patients the latest state-of-the-art medical technology and equipment while upholding the mission and the values of the Sisters of Mercy. Hospital staff and physicians also become ingrained in the fabric of the community as residents, volunteers, shoppers, and community advocates. At the same time, Laura and Sol believe that the community needs to support St. John’s by donating, volunteering, and making St. John’s their hospital of choice. One example of the successful partnership between the hospitals and the community is the Circle of Dignity capital campaign, which Laura and Sol supported with a generous gift. The campaign enabled St. John’s to build a new patient addition at SJHC and complete several major modernization and expansion projects at SJRMC in the late 2010s. 

The couple is doing their part to ensure the success of this partnership. Laura and Sol have supported St. John’s in a variety of ways throughout the decades. They are longtime members of the Humanitarian Gift Society, give generously to the Foundation, have hosted Foundation events at their home, and have volunteered. In the 1980s, Laura helped St. John’s to develop a strategic plan that led to creation of SJRMC’s current campus on Rose Avenue in Oxnard. In the 2000s and 2010s, Laura served on the Foundation’s Board of Directors and the Hospitals’ Community Board, helping to ensure that St. John’s is equipped to meet the community’s health care needs for generations to come. 

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