Sonoma County Mourns Passing of Local Trailblazer Helen Rudee

Sonoma County has lost one of the most inspirational figures in its history, but hers is a legacy that will live on many years to come.

Former Sonoma County Supervisor Helen Rudee inspired a generation of women to run for political office. She died last month at the age of 100 — yet another testament to the spirit and grit she displayed during her long career in public service.

Rudee became the first woman ever elected to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in 1976. She served three terms. After her exit from office, she continued to be a force for shattered ceilings, dedicating her life to encouraging women seeking political office in Sonoma County.

The fruits of her work are indelible. Today, Sonoma is one of five counties with a female majority Board of Supervisors.

In addition to Rudee’s incredible career, she was a devoted wife and mother. She is survived by four children and eight grandchildren, according to an obituary posted on

Read more about Helen Rudee’s life at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat