In Memory of Claudette Ostrander

Ostrander-Claudette-C.JPG Evergreen Commons lost a longtime dedicated community leader with the passing of Claudette Ostrander.  For the past several years her health had been declining as her body just wore out, and she died on October 22.  A memorial gathering, most likely in the park, will take place at a later date.  Claudette had been active in Evergreen Commons Homeowners Association for over 45 years, as president (several times), treasurer (several more times), board member, and volunteer.

Claudette and her first husband were original homeowners.  He worked with builder Jim Streng and had first choice of the new lots.  He chose one on Park Green Court backing on the park.  After his untimely death, Claudette rented the house and lived nearby with her sister Sharon for a time.  One day when she was flying to the Pacific Northwest for a weekend, she found herself sitting next to a handsome man named Bill Ostrander.  To their mutual surprise, they were both on the same return flight days later, and once more sat together and chatted.  After a week of thinking about it, they called each other, went out to dinner, and the rest is history. They were married in the park in the spring of 1989 and moved back into Park Green Court. Barbara Streng, Jim’s wife, sang at the wedding.

ECHA is unusual in that it has always been run by homeowners themselves. That’s the reason our annual dues are so low.  While we contract with necessary services such as bookkeeping, gardening, and pool services, a board of homeowners, not a paid agency, is the governing body.  Without volunteers, this would be impossible.  Both Claudette and her husband Bill were committed to this local form of self-government.  They consistently supported the rules of the association, believing that regulations should be enforced or changed, but never ignored.  In recent years this hasn’t been much of an issue, but longtime residents can recall that this has not always been the case.  Claudette and Bill saw the association through good times and bad.

As treasurer, Claudette’s financial and and investment skills have significantly increased the association’s savings account, providing us with a cushion for coming expenses.  It was her suggestion that we hire a bookkeeping firm to keep track of homeowner payments and provide expert knowledge of the frequent changes in laws that affect associations like ours.  Her passion for our neighborhood extended to social activities.  One of the features of our homes is that there are few windows facing the street.  In a sense, we live behind closed doors, which can isolate us from our neighbors.  Claudette strongly supported social outreach activities, with the goal of keeping people in touch with each other.  She had a special fondness for the Easter Egg Hunt, even persuading her sister to dress up as the Easter bunny.

I knew Claudette in only in passing until a decade or so ago, when I finally took a turn on the association board.  I admired her efficiency and dedication, but what made my time on the board memorable and  pleasurable was experiencing what a big heart she had. We will miss her.

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