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Dale Rhodehamel Rossi

1923 - 2016

Dale Rossi, a Santa Barbara native and fifth generation Californian, died March 22, 2016 at the age of 92. Dale grew up at 21 N. Alisos Street in the home built by her late parents Wesley and Bernice Rhodehamel and attended Franklin Elementary, Santa Barbara Junior High and Santa Barbara High. While at the Junior High Dale met her future husband Alex and, in their senior year at the High School, together they served as Vice President and President of the Class of 1942. They were married for sixty-nine years until his death in February 2012.

After high school Dale enrolled at Santa Barbara College (now UCSB) to pursue a degree in teaching, with a focus in home economics. She and Alex were married February 9, 1943, shortly after he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. They lived in Texas and Missouri during his training and, when they returned to Santa Barbara in 1944, Dale finished school and obtained her teaching certificate. While Alex earned his Master’s Degree in Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, Dale taught at various schools in San Pablo.

In 1957 the family, which then included sons Jon, Christopher, and Douglas, moved to Santa Monica, CA, where Dale taught home economics at Santa Monica High School. While teaching full time, she obtained her Master’s degree in Education from UCLA. She then became active in the State’s vocational training programs with the conviction that, while not everyone should or needed to go to college, everyone did need skills in order to participate effectively in our society. Sending this message to Sacramento became one of her principal goals. Dale served for over 10 years as the Regional Coordinator for the California State Department of Education. This job kept her very busy, requiring frequent trips to Sacramento and to many Southern California high schools.

In the early 1980s, Dale and Alex retired to the “Ballard Adobes” near Los Olivos, CA. Dale’s father began renovating the adobes to combine the two structures into one home. Starting in the 1960s, and thereafter, Dale and Alex continued to restore and make improvements to the property which has since become a Santa Barbara County Historic Landmark. Dale was very proud of the Ballard Adobes and enjoyed giving tours, including one that was featured on an episode of Huell Houser’s “California Gold” television show.

Once settled in the valley, Dale became active in the Santa Ynez Historical Society and was a docent at The Museum in Santa Ynez. She also co-owned Los Olivos Art Gallery in Los Olivos, and was a founding member of POLO, the Preservation of Los Olivos organization. Dale was also a former board member of the Santa Ynez Historical Museum, Santa Barbara Foundation and the Santa Barbara Historical Society. In addition to local activities, Dale became very interested in genealogy and compiled a detailed history of her family, which includes her grandfather, James E. Sloan, who was elected mayor of Santa Barbara in 1919. She was proud of the activities of her ancestors in the history of California and Santa Barbara. During this time, she and Alex also travelled to foreign countries and very much enjoyed their trips abroad.

Dale is survived by her three sons, Jon Alexander (Patricia), Christopher Jaime (Linda) and Douglas Dale (Kimberlee). Grandchildren are Michael, Amy, Lauren, Christopher, Claire, and Kate. Great grandchildren Jon, West, Aubrianna, Ashley, Alex and Aja. All have been blessed by her love and leadership via example.

In accordance with Dale’s wishes, there will be no service. Those wishing to recognize the assistance and services which have helped Dale through this last year may donate to Santa Barbara or Santa Ynez Cottage Hospital. Others may wish to recognize organizations she had supported: Santa Barbara Foundation, Santa Barbara Historical Society, Santa Ynez Historical Museum and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Los Olivos.

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