Dozens of Santa Clarita Valley residents attended graveside services for Connie Worden-Roberts Saturday at Eternal Valley Memorial Park in Newhall.
A longtime Santa Clarita Valley resident praised for decades of community building and her key role in the city’s formation, Worden-Roberts died Aug. 12 at 5:50 p.m. in Canyon Country of an illness, according to family members. She was 83.
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“Connie was incredibly knowledgeable of matters regarding the chamber and the city,” said Councilmember Bob Keller. “With the passing of time I continued to get to know Connie more and as I learned more, I because increasingly improessed with her intellect and her never ending desire to work on matter effecting Santa Clarita. Connie Connie enjoyed a good laugh. She was not a joke teller but had a way of making people smile.”
Service speakers included Jim Ventress, retired CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Boys & Girls Club, Mayor Laurene Weste and others.
“It’s conforting to be here with so many people who knew, loved and appreciated my mother,” said Leon Worden, son of Worden-Roberts and president and CEO of SCVTV. “As you know she cared deeply and passionately about this community.”
A choir sang the hymn “How Great Thou Art” before a flag was folded and presented to family members.
“She led by doing and without actually saying the words, her message was clear — if you’re going to do something, do it right. Preferably, the first time. Be strong, informed and intelligent. Stand up straight. Speak clearly. Be proud, positive and true, and never let them see you sweat,” said Ed Masterson on behalf of Kathy Norris, president and CEO of the Valley Industry Association. “And tho she be but little, she is fierce. And doesn’t that say it all.”
The services were open to the public, and attendees were asked to donate to Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley in lieu of flowers.
A reception immediately following services was held at the Old Town Newhall Library on Main Street.
An influential member of a group that helped push for the city’s formation, funding for the Cross Valley Connector and for the original clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Club of SCV, Worden-Roberts was given a key to the city of Santa Clarita and a Lifetime Achievement Award on May 16.
She was named Santa Clarita Valley Woman of the Year in 1975 and was one of the original members of Santa Clarita’s first Planning Commission, as well as a leader in the formation of Santa Clarita as a city when it split from Los Angeles County.
Here are the contents of a page dedicated to Worden-Roberts created by the Santa Clarita Valley Man and Woman of the Year:
Worden-Roberts, who has epitomized community building and leadership in its finest for almost four decades, was honored as Santa Clarita Valley’s Woman of the Year back in 1975.
In the 31 years that have passed, this remarkable lady has neither slowed down nor has withdrawn from public service or her volunteer contributions.
While the title of SCV Woman of the Year may be bestowed on an individual only once, Connie has deserved it many times. In fact, she has also been named “Woman of the Year” three times by the California State Legislature, and was recipient of the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the SCV Press Club.
Connie Worden grew up in Minnesota and graduated with a B.A. in English from San Jose State College. She did accounting work while in college.She moved to the Santa Clarita Valley in 1970, and worked with programs for gifted children at CSUN. During this time she was active in numerous civic and volunteer organizations in the Santa Clarita Valley. In 1974, she was among the first women elected to the Boys & Girls Club governing board. She worked on the Club’s benefit auction during its formative years, and served as Auction Coordinator in 1980 when the Auction first surpassed the $100,000 revenue mark.
In 1975 she was elected to the Board of the (then-named) Newhall-Saugus-Valencia Chamber of Commerce. She organized and headed for many years the Chamber’s Transportation Committee which operated as a quasi-civic body to oversee local traffic needs and road construction.
Also in the ’70s she was elected to the Hart School Board of Trustees, the North County Citizens Planning Council, the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital speakers bureau, and the Placerita Canyon Nature Center Association.
In early 1980, she worked as a special assistant to the president of HR Textron, and then with Assemblywoman Marian La Follette.
Connie was an active leader in the Canyon County Formation Committee which attempted twice in the late ’70s to form the Santa Clarita Valley into a separate county. She was equally active a decade later in the incorporation of the City of Santa Clarita.She also found time to serve as chair of the League of Women Voters. And she worked on special programs for children at Wiley Canyon Elementary School.
In 1990, Connie started her own business as the Transportation Management Association. She was appointed by Supervisor Michael Antonovich to the North County Transportation Coalition. She has been active as a board member in the Valley Industrial Association and she serves as the co-chair of the SCV Transportation Alliance.
Even after 30 years, Connie Worden is still serving on the governing board of the SCV Boys & Girls Club, and she has just been re-elected to the SCV Chamber of Commerce Board for 2005-2008.
Ms. Worden-Roberts said of her 30-year-old honor of SCV Woman of the Year:
“It has been a great and continuing honor to have been selected by my peers to such a number of awards. It has been a distinct pleasure to have served in a variety of interesting capacities. I have had the privilege of learning a great deal about this fascinating Valley and the wonderful people who reside here.”
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