After a full life of ninety years, Phoebe Ovrein passed away July 16 in her Soquel cottage with family at her side. A celebration of life is being planned on the date of her birthday.
Phoebe was born October 24, 1919, in Helena, Montana. She and her parents, Phoebe and Matthew Bailey, soon moved to San Francisco where she grew up. Phoebe often related her happy childhood memories of spending every summer vacation at her family's cabin in Boulder Creek. Early in her life she developed a love and talent for drawing and writing stories. Her intense love for animals and the natural world inspired her throughout her life to support numerous animal and conservation causes. She also devoted many years of her life to animal rescue.
After graduating from Anna Head School in Berkeley, Phoebe went on to attend the University of California at Berkeley where she met her first husband, James Ford. Phoebe later entered the St. Luke's School of Nursing. She and James were married in 1943 while he was on leave as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy. They had two children, Eric and Ingrid.
Following a brief residence in New Haven, Connecticut, and a marital dissolution, Phoebe returned to San Francisco and completed her nursing degree at St. Luke's Hospital and earned a credential in Public Health from the University of California. She joined the Santa Cruz County Health Department in 1950 when her family moved permanently to their home in Boulder Creek.
In 1953, Phoebe married Raoul Ovrein and moved to Scotts Valley, then Santa Cruz. She and Raoul had two daughters, Yvonne and Simone. During these years she was an active member of the Santa Cruz Bird Club. Through her work she strived to improve the lives of those in need, especially children. After moving back to Boulder Creek, Phoebe retired from the County Health Department, but continued to work as a RN in local nursing homes before moving to the Visalia area for several years.
Returning once again to Santa Cruz in the early 1990s, Phoebe enjoyed docenting at Natural Bridges and working on local conservation efforts. She then joined her younger daughters in Modesto for 12 years, where she enthusiastically led school tours for the Great Valley Museum of Natural History, volunteered at both the McHenry Mansion and Museum and enjoyed membership in the Garden Club.
Phoebe was a descendant of the Parkers who settled in Santa Cruz in the 1880s. Her grandfather, James P. Parker, was a dentist and mayor of Santa Cruz in 1900. Though she lived in other cities for periods of her life, Phoebe always referred to her final return to Santa Cruz County two and a half years ago as "coming home for good!"
She was preceded in death by her husband, Raoul Ovrein. Survivors include her brother, Matthew A. Bailey of Dutch Flat; her son, Eric Ford of Chico; her daughters, Ingrid Lindsay of Soquel, Yvonne Henselman and Simone Allen of Modesto. She had nine grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
By her request, Phoebe's ashes will be scattered in Big Basin State Park, a place forever dear to her heart where she made many happy memories in her youth.
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