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Obituary of Mary “Pat” Rorden

Longtime Nevada County resident Mary “Pat” Rorden passed away on Feb. 28, 2017 at her home in Grass Valley at the age of 84 with family at her side. She was born on March 17, 1932 in Calumet City, Illinois, but spent many of her early years in Brazil while her father assisted with the construction of the first steel mill in South America. Pat was preceded in death by her father Walter Jesernig, mother Mary Jesernig, brother Rudy (Glenna) Jesernig, and sister Delores (Dale) Tollefson. Pat is survived by daughter, Chris (Tim) Evans, stepdaughter Eileen (Bob) Godwin, and stepson Sterling (Marianne) Rorden. Pat is also survived by grandchildren, Hayley Evans, Ashley Evans, Kyle Godwin, Stacey Godwin, and great-grandson Sonny Chappell, along with numerous nieces and nephews. Pat married the love of her life, Bill Rorden, on April 29th, 1967. Together they enjoyed world-traveling, entertaining, flying, camping and fishing for almost 50 years.

Pat had many talents and passions throughout her vibrant life. One of her favorite summer pastimes was water skiing. She helped to organize the Desert Water Ski Club in Tri-Cities, Washington, a renowned club that once entertained President Eisenhower during the opening of the John Day Dam. Pat was also an avid downhill skier, dancer, high-diver and photographer. She was a self-taught gourmet chef who entertained people from around the world. Also among her many talents was sewing, which she put to good use for everything from ski uniforms to Nevada County Airshow flags and banners. In her 20s Pat worked as an airline agent, and her love of aviation continued to grow. She was a co-founder of Golden Empire Flying Association in Nevada County, a licensed multi-engine pilot, and a member of the Ninety-Nines Organization of Women Pilots. She also worked as a purchasing agent for the Grass Valley Group in its formative years. Pat’s enthusiasm for her passions was compelling, inspiring her family members to follow in her footsteps of culinary arts, aviation, sewing, and gardening. Please join us in a casual Irish-style Celebration of Life in honor of her 85th birthday, which would have been this St. Patrick’s Day. We will celebrate on March 18, 2017 from 3-6 p.m. at the Nevada City Elks Lodge, 518 CA-49, Nevada City, CA 95959.

Pat was a supporter and willing participant in advanced studies for Parkinson’s disease. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in her honor to the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center, 675 Almanor Avenue, Sunnyvale, CA 94085, http://www.thepi.org.

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