BCHC Mid Valley Unit
(Left - Claudia with Kate and Rob Blair)
By now many of you know that Claudia Parrish passed away on Nov. 5th. This is not just a loss to those of us who knew and loved her, but also a great loss to Backcountry Horsemen. Claudia was a very energetic person, and was always planning interesting rides for Mid Valley members. Just last April she arranged for us to spend a week at the 7IL Ranch in Essex; home of Rob and Kate Blair, her brother- in-law and sister-in- law. This was an amazing experience for all of us. We were given a tour of the area (both on horseback and pickup) and learned about ranching in the desert. Claudia planned wonderful breakfasts, and then we took turns cooking an evening meal. Rob told stories and the history of the ranch, and even "let" us help him repair a fence one day! We will all fondly remember that wonderful outing. She was also very active in the 9-2-99 Tuolumne River Clean-Up Project, getting Mid Valley members to haul trash during the work days. Claudia attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She received a BS in Animal Science, and an MS in Agriculture. She attended Chapman University in Orange, getting her teaching credential and also studied Supplements in Agriculture, Home Economics, and Industrial and Technology Education. She was also a Registered Veterinary Technician and just recently became a Notary. She never stopped learning and improving herself.
Claudia was a vivacious, outgoing woman who enjoyed life to the fullest. She loved horseback riding, camping, traveling, square dancing, teaching, and generally living life to the max! She recently sat down and counted up all the jobs she'd had, and ended up with 42! She said with pride "and I was never fired from any of them!" She always loved a challenge and could do almost anything she put her mind to. She loved animals and was a cattle rancher in the Mojave Desert with her first husband, Scott Blair. When she moved to Turlock in 1989 she found work with General Mills in Lodi, was Production and Label Line Supervisor at Tri Valley Growers, operated her business (Paws @ Home Pet Sitting Service), was an adult education instructor in Oakdale, and even delivered the Modesto Bee. She recently retired from her position as Ag Inspector for Stanislaus County, a job she loved because she spent lots of time outside and working with farmers and ranchers.
Claudia had a deep faith and was always helping those in need. She was very committed to the Community United Methodist Church in Oakdale and Centenary Methodist Church in Modesto where she organized many mission projects including: New Orleans, Arkansas, Guatemala, and Chile. She found such joy in helping others.
Her other great passion was traveling and she was a fantastic trip planner! She made several trips to Hawaii (with friends and family), China, Costa Rica, Panama, and a train trip across Canada from Niagara Falls to Vancouver to name a few. She was always looking for the next adventure. Unfortunately, her illness cut short her quest for the next bug trip.
We will all miss Claudia's smile and laughter. We have our memories of our "adventures" with her. And I know her last words to us would be "Live each day to the fullest and be grateful for each and every day."
(By Kathy Zumbrunn)