A UCSD professor found dead on a North County hiking trail is being remembered by loved ones as an accomplished educator and an active, outstanding woman.
On Friday around 10 a.m., hikers found the body of La Jolla resident Ellen Comisso, 65, along the San Pasqual/Clevenger Canyon Trail near the San Dieguito River Park. Officials soon confirmed her death.
Comisso was a longtime professor for UCSD’s department of political science, her family told NBC 7 on Saturday. She had been teaching at the university for the past 30 years.
She was a Yale graduate and an expert on eastern European economies, and had written a number of books on the subject.
At 65 years old, she was also an avid hiker and loved to walk the trail in San Pasqual, her brother Sid Turkish told NBC 7.
“She’s always been an outstanding student; an outstanding person. She’s just exemplary in everything she ever touched,” said Turkish. “She was committed to all the good things in society.”
Comisso was the youngest of four siblings and is survived by her husband and one daughter.
Turkish said he never imagined having to bury his sister, who is 11 years younger than him.
“Other than my wife and daughter, Ellen was part of that little universe that I have total respect and love for. She’s irreplaceable,” he said.
Turkish said his sister was married for more than 30 years to Yugoslavia-born diplomat Mladen Soic. The two shared active lives together, hiking all over Europe and the U.S.
“They had both been in love with hiking ever since they met,” recalled Turkish.
UCSD student Austin Hill said he once had Comisso as a professor and thought she was both an interesting and challenging teacher.
“She knew how to keep you engaged in the material and her course is very good, and very thought-provoking,” Hill told NBC 7.
As of Saturday afternoon, the medical examiner’s office had not yet released Comisso’s cause of death. The investigation is ongoing.
UCSD is not commenting on Comisso's death at this time.