March 23, 2018
Helped Found Lambtown Festival & Historical Society
Generously Helped Youth Agriculture for Decades
“Let Me Live in a House by the Side of the Road And Be a Friend to Man.”
– Sam Walter Foss
On March 9, 2018 Lucy Ellen Goodenough Vassar went to meet Our Heavenly Father at the age of 93.
Lucy was born on October 20, 1924 in Des Moines, Iowa, to Charles Lee Goodenough and Ruth Terry Goodenough. She was the youngest of three children – baby sister to Mary Ruth and Robert Lee.
The family moved to California when Lucy was a baby. Lincoln was the family’s first stop. They moved quite a few times throughout California: to Cedarville, Farmington, Brentwood, Etna, and finally to Stockton, as her father was a Methodist Minister and these were the places where he preached.
Lucy grew up and married Ervin Edwin Vassar. They met as students at the University of California, Davis during the early years of World War II. Lucy prided herself as being one of only 137 women who attended UC Davis at that time. She was a Home Economics major.
She and Ervin had three children – Robert Ervin, Virginia Ann, and David Eugene. After the War, the couple settled in a little farm between Woodland and Davis.
In 1948, the Vassar family moved to Dixon. First living in town, they moved to a ranch next to the Dixon Auction Yard in 1965. Theirs was a sheep, cattle, tomato, sugar beet, wheat, and trefoil ranch. They also made a living fattening up lambs on clover and custom feeding lambs for both Mace Meat Company and Stoven Brothers Meat in Dixon.
At one time, Lucy explained that on one particular day there were over 26,468 lambs being fed on the Vassar pastures. During this time Lucy kept track of all the ranch records and was the chief parts runner. Some weeks she would put over a 1000 miles on her car just getting parts to keep things running.
Besides raising her children, Lucy became involved in many community activities. She was a Boy Scout Den Mother, Community 4-H Leader to Dixon Ridge 4-H Club, where she taught members about sewing and cooking. She also was one of the founding members of the Dixon Historical Society and was heavily involved in sheep activities at the local, state, and national levels thru the California Wool Growers Association and Women’s Auxiliary.
Affectionately known as “Lambtown Lucy”, she was deeply involved in the early days of Dixon’s Lambtown, which highlighted the sheep and lamb industry. She started out by promoting lamb by serving it from a booth, and one year she was even a judge in the famous Lamb Cook-off.
Lucy’s involvement with sheep and lamb at the national level found her representing her commodity along with other agricultural product women in international travels to such countries as Italy, Turkey, Bulgaria, Morocco, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, as well as Iran. She was never one to pass up a good trip with her best friend Donna Furlong and the rest of the ladies representing U.S. agriculture to the world.
Perhaps one of Lucy’s most rewarding things in her life was opening up her ranch to many young people, providing them with the opportunity to raise an animal for the fair, whether it be lamb, beef cattle, or pigs. All were welcome.
She enjoyed following the lives of those young people as they went off to create their own adventures after their “fair time.” She was always so excited when those young people took the time and stopped by when they were in town “just to check in.” More than anything, she considered her Fair Kids as her legacy. She loved living her life in the house on Runge Road being a friend to all.
Many may remember Lucy’s famous “Five O’clock Wine Time.” She attributed her long life and strong mind to always having a glass of red wine promptly at 5 o’clock each day. If someone was late in serving her favorite beverage, she always said that “it must be 5 o’clock somewhere.” Thank you to Greg Ahart for making that last Wine Time special and memorable.
Lucy is survived by her son Robert and his friend Sandy; her daughter Ann; her granddaughter Deborah and her children Lauren, Lilly, and London; her grandson Steve and his wife Marque, and their sons Jake and Drew; plus many nieces, nephews, cousins, and countless friends.
It has been said the measure of a person’s legacy is the number of lives that have been touched and the differences made in the process. If that is the guide, then let us remember Lucy, who gave her heart and soul and had a grand time doing it.
A Celebration of Life will be held to honor Lucy on Thursday, March 29, 2018 at the Dixon May Fair Livestock Area Open Sheep Barn at 10:30 am. Come share a beverage and your favorite “Lucy Story.”
In memory of Lucy Vassar, those interested may make a contribution to the Dixon Historical Society, P.O. Box 814, Dixon, California 95620.
(Editor’s Note; This article was submitted by the Vassar family as an obituary. Lucy has been such a major part of the Dixon community for many decades, the IV decided she deserves front page recognition.)
March 23, 2018