Mostly clear

Bobbie Carney, former aide to congressman, dies at 91

  • Bobbie Carney.

Bobbie Carney was a former newspaperwoman who worked as a secretary to ex-Congressman Don Clausen and rubbed elbows with some of the country’s leading Republicans before becoming a director of the American Cancer Society, then a youth advocate and trusty volunteer.

Carney, also a world traveler and for years a charming presence behind the counter at the Treasure House charitable consignment shop in downtown Santa Rosa, died Aug. 17 in a care home in San Clemente. She was 91.

“She had a great life,” said one of her two daughters, Ellen Woodward, formerly of San Clemente and now a resident of Santa Rosa. “Travel and painting were definitely her things.”

A prolific artist, Carney had studied for years with late Santa Rosa Junior College art instructor Maurice Lapp. In retirement, she painted, visited Hawaii and other exotic locations and served as a member of the Sonoma County Juvenile Justice Commission.

Her eyesight failed in recent years, a harsh blow to a woman who loved to create art and cherished her independence and mobility. But longtime friend and fellow Treasure House volunteer Jeannine Park said Carney preferred always to look on the bright side.

“She did not complain,” said Park. “She was one of the most positive people I ever met. She always said to people, ‘How you doing, kiddo?’ ”

She was born Bobette Parker in Los Angeles in 1922. She studied journalism in Los Angeles City College, then wrote for the former Los Angeles Examiner and the Desert Sun of Palm Springs as a fashion and life-of-the-town columnist.

Shortly after World War II, her taste for travel and adventure drew her to Hawaii for a vacation. Loving it, she returned to Honolulu and found work as a writer for an in-house publication of Hawaiian Telephone.

Soon, she fell in love with Robert Carney, a chief of Oahu’s PepsiCo bottling plant.

“They met on a blind date at a baseball game,” Woodward said. The couple married in 1949.

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