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Amy Cipes

1934 - 2009, Santa Barbara

Amy Cipes passed away unexpectedly on March 2, 2009, while enjoying a wonderful family vacation in Southern California. She was born on October 3, 1934, in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her parents, Jacob and Dorothy Rabkin, moved to Mt. Vernon, N.Y., in 1940 and Amy graduated from A.B. Davis High School in 1952. Before her marriage to Robert Cipes in 1954, Amy attended Wheaton College in Massachusetts, later transferring to New York University and finally, after having three children, to George Washington University where in 1966 she earned a B.A. degree in Sociology. Amy also lived for brief periods in New Rochelle, N.Y., and New Haven, Connecticut. In 1967 she moved with her family to Santa Barbara where she lived until coming to Ashland in 1988. The cause of her death was sudden cardiac arrest.

Always concerned with social justice, in her younger years Amy was active in Neighbors, Inc., a racially mixed neighborhood in Washington, D.C., that became a model for urban integration. She also developed a program for young African-American women, which in 1966 received the annual award of the D.C. Department of Recreation. Her participation in the Civil Rights Movement included sponsoring fundraisers for civil-rights workers and picketing with her three young children at the White House and the Department of Justice. In addition, Amy held positions assisting Yale Law School scholarship students, and as Office Manager for two private schools. She was also active in the Democratic Party, both in Santa Barbara and in Jackson County.

In her later years Amy became a Real Estate Broker and had her own office in Ashland for a number of years before her retirement. Since that time, in her quest to experience life to the fullest, Amy enjoyed many educational and recreational activities, especially world travel: to Israel and Egypt, a cruise to the Caribbean and the Panama Canal (which included an unforgettable swim with dolphins) and, last year, an extended cruise in the South Pacific. Amy also enjoyed taking classes at Ashland's OLLI program, painting lovely watercolors, her weekly mahjong group, and rooting for the L.A. Lakers. She had a special fondness for rainbows and sunsets which--with schools of passing dolphins--she reveled in watching from the balcony of her vacation rental in the weeks before her death. On New Year's Day 2009, Amy fulfilled a childhood dream of attending The Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena. In recent weeks--at the urging of her children and with their instruction--she mastered the "art" of text messaging ;-)

All who knew and loved Amy will remember her vivacious, free spirit, her passion for life, and her extreme devotion to family and friends. Amy was very happy and at peace during the final days of her life, so we ask that she be remembered in love, not loss.

She is survived by her amazing 102-year old mother, Dorothy Rabkin of Ashland, her brother, Dr. Richard Rabkin and his wife Judy of New York City, her children: Peter Cipes and his wife Karen of Ashland; Judith Voss and her partner Gregg of Eugene; and her son Rick of Santa Barbara, three granddaughters: Erica Voss of Eugene, Jessica Cipes of San Diego, and Kristin Hernandez Cipes and her husband Abraham of Guanajuato, Mexico, and their son Diego, Amy's precious great grandson, and by Bob Cipes, Amy's friend and former husband. Amy was preceded in death by her beloved father, Jacob Rabkin who, with Amy's mother, moved to Ashland in 2000) in order to live close to Amy.

A private Celebration of Life for Amy's immediate family will take place on October 3, 2009, on what would have been Amy's 75th birthday. According to her wishes, Amy's ashes will be scattered off the coast of Santa Barbara. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Amy's name may be made to any local Meals on Wheels program, the American Heart Association, or to a charity of one's choice.

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