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Obituary: Jacqueline Bucknell

Jacqueline Bucknell
Jacqueline Bucknell
Provided Photo

July 23, 1941 – August 21, 2022

Jacquelin Bucknell passed away August 21, 2022, a month after her 80th birthday. She battled cancer for 12 years before succumbing to its finality in her home with her family attending her passing. Jacquie was born July 23, 1941 in Los Angeles to Jean E. Bucknell (Snow) and Wilson H. Bucknell. She loved the L.A. ocean beaches, swimming and chasing waves, and family camping trips to the deserts in winter. After overcoming childhood polio, Jacquelin became an honor student at San Marino High School and graduated at the top of her class. She then attended U. C. Berkeley, graduating in 1963 with a BA in Fine Arts, one of only two women in her class to earn an art degree.

Next, she fulfilled her dream, graduating in the first class for American women flight attendants with Pan American Airlines and set off to travel the world. During the Viet Nam war she was promoted to Lieutenant in the air force and flew young men to war and back with Flying Tigers. Next, Jacquie enrolled in San Francisco State and received her teaching certificate for secondary education; and later returned to the airlines to fly with Arrow Airways and charter flights.

Jacquie moved to Nevada City in 1978 and bought 5 acres to develop and raise her daughters in a safe environment. Once settled in Nevada county Jacquie worked in the restaurant business as a bartender and waitress for ten years. Her favorite job was working for Charles Woods and David Osborne at the American Victorian Museum for 5 years. She was a substitute teacher for Nevada Union School District for 8 years. She continued her career as a portrait artist at county fairs, street fairs and privately for 35 years, producing many local landscapes of the Sierras, Yuba River, and Hawaii, as well as paintings of many friends and family.

Jacquie was one of the original 5 founders of the South Yuba River Citizen’s League (SYRCL) in 1984 to successfully stop dam construction on the South Yuba River. She met her life partner, Chris Olander, at a fund raising event for SYRCL in 1985 and they committed to each other and environmental activism on the Valentines Day 1986 flood of the Yuba, under the Hwy 49 bridge. Together they completed their home and raised Jacquie’s daughters to become beautiful, self reliant women.

Jacquie had a high moral and ethical standard of behavior, strong political opinions with great compassion for plants, insects, animals and all of nature. She was ordained as Priestess of Isis in 2001 as a protector of nature: flora and fauna and to distribute milkweed plants for Monarch butterflies. She understood and practiced Karmic laws of giving and receiving. Jacquie was happiest in nature and entertaining her family at Thanksgiving and dinner parties, which often included her dear friend and ex-husband George Ellinger. Jacquie was an amazing woman, talented and successful in all her endeavors. Jacquie and Chris created the “Historical Restoration Society for Poppies and Wildflowers of the Motherlode” in 1991 to stop Cal-Trans and Nevada County Transportation Dept. from spraying the toxic poisons Round Up and Glysophate along road sides and promote wildflower landscaping and mowing along Nevada county roads and throughout California. This work can be seen in the flowers alongside the freeway of the Brunswick Basin today. Jacquie joined “Group Against Spraying Poisons” (GASP) with Lee Hudson, 1992. Together they lobbied Nevada County Supervisors State Parks Dept. and California Senators, Representatives and the Governor to stop spraying cancer causing poisons on California parks and roadsides as well as documenting toxic effects of those poisons. The green “Do Not Spray” signs along our county roadsides were produced by GASP. In 2007 Jacquie and Chris visited Anza Borrego State Park in January through March and discovered that the Sahara Mustard was invading the park and out competing the native flowers. After weeding out the mustard plants in specified plots In three years Glorietta Canyon was clean of mustard and the other plots were clean too. They also wrote letters and lobbied park officials to start invasive plant elimination groups. In 2011 park officials began volunteer programs of invasive plant removal throughout the park.

In 1992 Jacquie co-founded Troup al Ama Middle Eastern dance group with Cathy Gutherie and Charlene Noel. Jacquie discovered her passion at 50 years of age, immersing herself in Middle Eastern dance performing arts. Troupe al Ama performed at belly dance festivals throughout Northern California, Bay Area, Reno and Oregon for 20 years, including fairs, Summer Nights in Nevada City, Farmers Market in Grass Valley, the Center for Arts, The Nevada Theatre, Nevada Union High School Sober Grad Night and convalescent homes. She continued dancing into her 80th year. Jacquie was a top model for “Trash Fashion” shows for 8 years and portrayed the sister of President Chester A. Arthur (Chris Olander) for 10 years with the Famous Marching Presidents.

Jacquie had a zest for life and loved being in the mountains hiking, lounging, and catching scenery especially sunset views and full moon risings. She loved the ocean and Hawaii, her second home. Jacquie is survived by her two daughters, Lovie Bucknell and Jennifer Sandine, wife of Andy Sandine, Grandsons, Jordan and Brendan Sandine, Granddaughter Elliana Caldwell, Niece, Shannon Woodson (Bucknell), Great Nephew Christopher Valenzuela, husband of Nicole Valenzuela, and Great Great Nephew Thomas Valenzuela.

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