A longtime Santa Clarita Valley woman praised for decades of community building and her key role in the city's formation, Connie Worden-Roberts died Tuesday at 5:50 p.m. in Canyon Country from a months-long illness, according to family members. She was 83.
Nearly 100 longtime Santa Clarita Valley residents and officials were on hand as Worden-Roberts was given a key to the city of Santa Clarita and a Lifetime Achievement Award on May 16.
The influential member of a group that helped push for the city's formation, funding for the Cross Valley Connector and for the original clubhouse of the Santa Clarita Valley Boys & Girls Club, Worden-Roberts was named Santa Clarita Valley Woman of the Year in 1975.
Worden-Roberts one of the original members of the Santa Clarita's first Planning Commission and a leader in the formation of Santa Clarita as a city in 1987 after having led an effort a decade earlier to form the breakaway Canyon County.
Worden-Roberts personally gathered 2,000 of the 24,000 signatures needed for the petition for cityhood.
Connie, a longtime SCV Boys & Girls Club board member, at the 1986 benefit auction with supporter Mike Kline (left) and club executive Jim Ventress (right). Click to enlarge.
Here are the contents of a page dedicated to Worden-Roberts created by the Santa Clarita Valley Man and Woman of the Year:
Worden-Roberts, who has epitomized community building and leadership in its finest for almost four decades, was honored as Santa Clarita Valley Woman of the Year back in 1975.
In the 31 years that have passed, this remarkable lady has neither slowed down nor has withdrawn from public service or her volunteer contributions.
While the title of SCV Woman of the Year may be bestowed on an individual only once, Connie has deserved it many times. In fact, she has also been named "Woman of the Year" three times by the California State Legislature, and was recipient of the "Lifetime Achievement Award" by the SCV Press Club.
Connie Worden grew up in Minnesota and graduated with a B.A. in English from San Jose State College. She did accounting work while in college.
She moved to the Santa Clarita Valley in 1970, and worked with programs for gifted children at CSUN. During this time she was active in numerous civic and volunteer organizations in the Santa Clarita Valley. In 1974, she was among the first women elected to the Boys & Girls Club governing board. She worked on the Club's benefit auction during its formative years, and served as Auction Coordinator in 1980 when the Auction first surpassed the $100,000 revenue mark.
Connie envisioning the future cross-valley connector in October 1993. Click to enlarge.
In 1975 she was elected to the Board of the (then-named) Newhall-Saugus-Valencia Chamber of Commerce. She organized and headed for many years the Chamber's Transportation Committee which operated as a quasi-civic body to oversee local traffic needs and road construction.
Also in the '70s she was elected to the Hart School Board of Trustees, the North County Citizens Planning Council, the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital speakers bureau, and the Placerita Canyon Nature Center Association.
In early 1980, she worked as a special assistant to the president of HR Textron, and then with Assemblywoman Marian La Follette.
Connie was an active leader in the Canyon County Formation Committee which attempted twice in the late '70s to form the Santa Clarita Valley into a separate county. She was equally active a decade later in the incorporation of the City of Santa Clarita.
She also found time to serve as chair of the League of Women Voters. And she worked on special programs for children at Wiley Canyon Elementary School.
Connie: Front and center at a groundbreaking for the cross-valley connector in 2008. Click to enlarge.
In 1990, Connie started her own business as the Transportation Management Association. She was appointed by Supervisor Michael Antonovich to the North County Transportation Coalition. She has been active as a board member in the Valley Industrial Association and she serves as the co-chair of the SCV Transportation Alliance.
Even after 30 years, Connie Worden was still serving on the governing board of the SCV Boys & Girls Club, and was re-elected to the SCV Chamber of Commerce Board for 2005-2008.
Worden-Roberts said in 2005 of her 30-year-old honor of SCV Woman of the Year:
"It has been a great and continuing honor to have been selected by my peers to such a number of awards. It has been a distinct pleasure to have served in a variety of interesting capacities. I have had the privilege of learning a great deal about this fascinating Valley and the wonderful people who reside here."