Ursula Ruth (Budde) (Rearden) Rodgers, 88, died Dec. 26, 2013, at a rehabilitation facility near Petaluma, Calif. Her son, Jim Rearden, was at her side.
Ursula was born on May 28, 1925, in San Francisco, Calif., to Adolf Budde and Florentina (Gaidzik) Budde. She was raised on chicken ranches in the Petaluma area and graduated from Petaluma High School in 1943. That fall she married her high school sweetheart, Jim Rearden, in Bremerton, Wash., where he was serving in the U.S. Navy. During the war, Ursula was a third-class electrician at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, overhauling instruments such as compasses and Selsyn motors. In 1950, Ursula, Jim and two daughters moved to Fairbanks, where a son was born. In 1956, they moved to Homer, where they built a large log home, and two more children, a daughter and a son, arrived. During this time she also worked at Homer City Hall. Ursula and Jim were divorced in 1966.
Ursula returned to Petaluma in 1965, where she lived for the rest of her life. She married Arnold Rodgers, a widowed father of three. They visited their Alaska families many times, and traveled to Europe and to Hawaii. They loved camping in their trailer at the coast near Bodega Bay.
From early childhood, Ursula was a nurse at heart, and at age 54 she achieved her lifelong dream by earning her licensed vocational nursing diploma. Involved with Petaluma Health Services, she helped to improve conditions in nursing homes and later, as president of PHS, was instrumental in establishing the Rapaport Scholarship program for nursing school students; she continued to help pick recipients until her death.
Ursula was a long-time volunteer for Hospice of Petaluma at Sack’s Thrift Shop and as a nurse at the Free Clinic. She was a member of the United Church of Christ for many years. She hated homelessness, and being involved with these organizations was her way of helping less fortunate people.
Loving people young and old, she welcomed all with an open heart. She always kept her youthful, playful, free spirit alive, and people were drawn to and loved her. She loved storms and to read, work in her yard, watch the birds at her feeder, visit with friends and spend time with her family.
Ursula is survived by her sister, Lucille Battison of Petaluma; her children, Kathy Rearden of Eureka, Calif; Mary Bookman (Bruce) of Anchorage; Mike Rearden (Nita) of Homer; Nancy Kleine (Ken) of Homer; Jim Rearden of Petaluma; Arnie Rodgers Jr. (Janice) of Santa Rosa, Calif.; David Rodgers (Mary) of Santa Rosa; special friends Cindy Piezzi of Petaluma, and Ed and Pam Shriver of Santa Rosa.
Twenty grandchildren survive her: Stephen Vanek (Lisa) of Yacolt, Wash.; Teague Vanek (Betsy) of Homer; Heather Gilchrist (Joe) of Eureka; Jason Bookman (Renae), Steven Bookman (Lea) and Alexander Bookman (Gabriella), all of Anchorage; Stefan Rearden (Devki) of Anchorage; Spencer Rearden (Katie) and Sarah Jung (Eric) of Bethel; Sterling Rearden of Anchorage; Darius Kleine and Lydia Kleine of Homer; Haley Rearden and Sam Rearden of Petaluma; Aaron Rodgers of Santa Rosa; Jessica Heath (Terry) of Florida; Chad Rodgers (Kim) of New Jersey; Kendra Gish (Bryan) of Oregon; Melissa Carlson (Brad) and Nicholas Shriver (Amanda), all of Santa Rosa. Ursula also is survived by 26 great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Arnold Rodgers; her brother, Lucky Budde; step-daughter Peggy Ann Shriver, and grandson, Erik Bookman.
Ursula’s and Arnold’s ashes will be scattered together in places that were special to them, and a memorial will be held at a future date.