Elsie Marie Robinson Bidgood passed away peacefully in her sleep on Tuesday, June 29, 2010 just three days before her 101st birthday. Elsie was born July 2, 1909 in Macon, Macon County, Illinois to Loshel Marshal and Clara Alma ‘Carrie’ Park Robinson. Her father called her a ‘fizzle’ because she was born just before the Fourth of July celebrations.
The family came to California by train when Elsie was 3, and the family lived in Monrovia for 4 years. When Elsie was 7, her mother died during a family trip back to Illinois. Elsie stayed with her aunt and uncle and cousins on the farm for a year following her mother’s death. She and her cousin Wayne found lots of ways to get into mischief on the farm, and they walked through snowdrifts to a one-room country school. Elsie returned to California at age 8 via train ‘in care of the conductor.’ In 1918, the trip from Illinois to Santa Barbara required changing trains in St. Louis and Los Angeles and was a 4-day, 3-night trip. Her aunt packed fried chicken and gave her money to buy something to drink while on this trip. She vividly remembered this trip as a highlight of her young life.
While attending Santa Barbara High School, Elsie met Bert Bidgood at a Christian Endeavor at Congregation Church and they wrote regularly during the 1930s. They married in September 1940 in Reno, Nevada and lived together happily for 56 years in Santa Barbara, building their own home, raising two children, and making many good friends.
She worked for United Pacific Insurance Company for 10 years in Santa Barbara. She actively researched genealogy with her husband for 25 years, compiling a wealth of information that her granddaughters are still building upon. She was also active in the First Presbyterian Church where she volunteered for many activities over the years.
Family and friends were always important to Elsie. In 2001, she moved from Santa Barbara to Irvine to be closer to family.
Elsie was preceded in death by her husband Bert in 1995, her parents Clara A. Park Robinson in 1917 and Loshel M. Robinson in 1949, and her daughter-in-law Virginia C. Wade Bidgood in 2006. Elsie is survived by her son David W. of Independence, MO, and his daughter Gillian P. of Woburn, MA and son and daughter-in-law Kyle M. and Valerie A. of Garden Grove, CA; her daughter and son-in-law, Carol A. and Daniel A. Thompson of Irvine, CA, their daughter Diana L. and grandson Alexander E. of Irvine, CA, and daughter and son-in-law Karen M. and Eric R. Coulson of Fort Huachuca, AZ.