It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of one of Rodgers Ranch founding members, Ellen M. Stevahn, this past weekend. Ellen was 94 and spent the last 30 years of her life devoted to the restoration of the Rodgers Ranch Historical Site. She and a few other members of the Pleasant Hill Historical Society saw the need to save this important part of local history, and they organized the Friends of Rodgers Ranch (F.O.R.R.) Committee in 1989 for this purpose.
After working diligently to have the site listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Ellen became the first president of F.O.R.R., establishing it as it’s own nonprofit organization on June 18,1991. She was a fixture on the board and always ready to help out at all events -- as a Round Up docent, decorator for our 4th of July float, porch sweeper at the farmhouse, and most of all, as the Ranch’s biggest ambassador. Three years ago, she enthusiastically embraced amending our name to the Rodgers Ranch Heritage Center and undertaking a new direction.
Unfortunately, Ellen's health took a turn for the worse over the last two years, forcing her to leave the board and become a notable honorary director. She was an inspiration, a friend, and a mentor, and she will be dearly missed. If you have any special memories of Ellen, please post them here.
Her Celebration of Life service will be July 8 at 7:00pm (reception following), St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 3051 Putnam Blvd, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523. Private burial. Memorials preferred to St. Mark’s Lutheran Church; Rodgers Ranch Heritage Center, P.O. Box 23381, Pleasant Hill, CA, 94523; or youth/education program of choice. (hullschapel.com)
The RRHC Board
6/3/2015 05:59:27 am
Ellen was a very special and amazing woman. She reminded me very much of my grandmother, someone who was both physically small yet extremely large in stature. They both were kind, gentle, loving woman with great smiles, a soft voice, a wry smile and a great laugh.
6/3/2015 06:05:23 am
Sad news! Ellen was a special lady!
6/3/2015 06:09:32 am
So sorry to hear of her passing. Thank you for the information.
Linda K. Mayo
6/3/2015 06:11:24 am
Kathleen M. Noonan
6/3/2015 06:13:35 am
Ron & Jay-Marie Garcia
6/3/2015 06:15:14 am
6/3/2015 06:16:59 am
Ah, so sad, but what a wonderful life of service! Is this the same lady who had the teddy bears? I sure love the ones I bought.
6/3/2015 06:20:08 am
We're glad you like the bears and no they were not Ellen's. They were from a collection owned by Sarah Young another founding member of F.O.R.R. along with Ellen. She did however help with our teddy bear sale.
Jim and Laura Lawrence
6/3/2015 06:22:21 am
6/3/2015 06:24:13 am
Dear Rodgers ranch
6/3/2015 06:25:24 am
My condolences to her family and friends...and her Rogers Ranch Family. I believe she has left her spirit in all she touched and those she worked with. Donice
6/3/2015 06:27:08 am
Thanks for letting us know.
6/3/2015 06:28:42 am
Thank You Denise!
6/3/2015 06:30:01 am
Denise, I am very sorry to hear this news. Ellen was one of the first people to greet me when I started working at City Hall. At that time, she was still volunteering as a dispatcher in the Senior Van Service program. She was a warm, friendly, soft spoken person who made me feel very welcome to Pleasant Hill, so much so, that she gave me one of those beautiful throws reflecting the history of Pleasant Hill. Although I did not see her that often these past five years, I will always remember her fondly as a kind and gentle person who loved our community like no other.
6/3/2015 06:31:23 am
6/3/2015 06:32:34 am
Hi Denise and RRHC Board- The Rubin family is so very sad to hear about Ellen's passing. We all adored her. My kids were campers and docents at RR since they were in elementary school and are now in their 20's. Ellen was a fixture at RRHC and so they got to interact with her quite a bit. I asked them what they remember most about her and they said they remember her stories and her great sense of humor.
6/3/2015 06:33:40 am
A huge thank you to Ellen for her tireless devotion to our community and to saving the Ranch. She was a character that I'll never forget.
6/3/2015 08:15:11 am
Ellen was proof of the saying, "Good things come in small packages." Like Joseph and Laura, I met Ellen through the PH Chamber Ambassadors program. Ellen had a spirit about her that you could feel even before you got one of those famous Ellen hugs. Feisty in the best way, zesty even. Spunky. She loved the Ranch, she loved life, she loved those lucky enough to share her path. It was a privilege to know her. She leaves a positive legacy in our fair town, and of course, at the Ranch.
6/3/2015 10:11:39 am
Ellen always reminded me of George Bailey from the movie, "It's A Wonderful Life"; someone who touched everyone's life she came in contact with. I can think of countless ways she enriched my life, my family's life, Rodgers Ranch, and the entire Pleasant Hill community. And a good friend just reminded me that had it not been for Ellen, we would have never met. One of my favorite memories is of Ellen planting a tree in honor of the birth of my son, Tommy, a direct descendant of Patrick & Mary Rodgers. Yesterday, upon seeing me with tears in my eyes while reading the news of Ellen's passing, Tommy came up and hugged me, firmly stating, "we will never forget her". On behalf our family and all the Rodgers descendants, thank you Ellen - we will never forget you.
6/3/2015 12:31:39 pm
This lady has truly inspired me through the years! Such resilience, strength, and compassion. Ellen - thank you for your comedic genius and energetic presence, your advice, and your many entertaining stories. I will miss our conversations. Rest in peace.
6/3/2015 02:21:44 pm
When I first met Ellen about 20 years ago, she was an inspiration. Taking on the restoration of an historic site was a big job, but she pushed us all to do more than we ever thought we could do. Meanwhile she cracked jokes and showed us the importance of laughing. Whatever was going on at the ranch, she would come up and check it out and see if she could help.
David & Adrianne Roe
6/5/2015 06:14:20 am
Thanks Denise for letting everyone know about Ellen.
6/16/2015 09:21:36 am
Can't recall specific projects, but I remember Ellen as a
6/16/2015 10:25:40 am
Ellen was the greatest. I think of her every time I look at my Betty Boop Cookie jar she so graciously gave to me. And, who can forget the night we drank Jello Shooters along with Steve at Casino Night. She will be missed.
Norma and Don Flaskerud
6/16/2015 11:28:25 am
When we started attending the Citizen of the Year awards ceremonies we became aware of Ellen and all she had done and continued to do for the City and for Rodgers Ranch; like everyone else we found her to be delightful and so, so giving and so dedicated! I am proud to have known her and will miss her. But she left such a lovely legacy here in Pleasant Hill! I hope the Ranch keeps a special display about her, for without her vision and hard work it would not be here today!
6/17/2015 06:04:05 am
6/16/2015 11:37:26 am
Ellen was a wonderful person - I admired her for all the wonderful things she did for the community. I will always remember how she made you feel good when you ran into her around town and started talking to her. What a positive energetic person.
6/17/2015 12:10:23 am
What a deeply felt personal loss to those who were privileged to know her, and indeed to all of Pleasant Hill. Ellen was the enthusiastic "greeter" at the Seventh Day Adventist polling place where Mauna and I served for a number of elections. During lulls in the voting she encouraged us to share her interest in Rodgers Ranch, and she frequently called me over the years to chat about community issues. Like so many who grew up during the Great Depression, Ellen looked for the humor in everyday challenges, and our running joke was that we would someday "sneak out to go dancin," Big Band style. So, today I'm going to download some Glen Miller swing music and remember her smile.
6/17/2015 06:03:08 am
We are commissioning a memorial bench that will feature a plaque dedicated to her. It will be placed on top of the hill, replacing the one there that will naturally overlook the entire site.
6/17/2015 01:43:19 am
I met Ellen when she contacted me probably I the early days of researching the ranch. I had lived there from 1955 to 1960. My step-father was the caretaker.( My wedding reception in June, 1960 was on the grass under the oak trees.) Ellen asked me many pertinent questions about the ranch. I gave her some pictures. Ellen was very nice and adept at getting information. She knew what she wanted and went for it. I understand she was instrumental in getting the ranch on the National Registry. It will be especially great when the barn is rebuilt. I didn't know, or remember, that it was a wheat barn. We seldom went into that center, high-ceiling, area. Every time I went down the street Ellen lived on I would think of her. So sorry to hear of her passing.If there is a gathering at the ranch in her honor, please let me know. Also if there are services.
6/17/2015 05:59:58 am
Thank you Gae for you great comments, the services for Ellen are listed below. As for the Ranch, we are commissioning a memorial bench that will feature a plaque dedicated to her. It will be placed on top of the hill, replacing the one there that will naturally overlook the entire site.
6/26/2015 06:41:07 am
When I think of Ellen, I think of this pert little lady with sparkling eyes, filled with energy and determination, ready to take a "stand" for her dream to keep Rodgers Ranch alive. Her passion started the process and ongoing plans were in place ... just what she wanted!
12/27/2022 12:51:56 pm
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