Author and longtime Ladera resident Jean Rusmore passes away at age 101

by Linda Hubbard on April 10, 2022

There’s no more dog-eared book on my shelf than Peninsula Trails authored by Jean Rusmore and Frances Spangle. Moving back to Menlo Park in 1990 — before the Internet made finding hikes easy — Peninsula Trails was my late husband Chris and my go-to guide, being tucked into a knapsack on every new outdoor adventure in the early ’90s.

And while I never met Jean, her descriptions of the great hiking trails — most within a half hour drive — made me feel like she was my new best friend. So I was saddened to learn of her death at age 101 on April 1st in Aptos, CA.

In addition to Peninsula Trails, she authored — also with Spangle — South Bay Trails and Bay Area Ridge Trails and was active with Bay Area conservation organizations.

In an interview with the Almanac News in 2002, Jean said that the formation of the MidPeninsula Regional Open Space District opened new areas up to the public. “These were hidden gems,” she said. “Nobody knew about the trails. They didn’t tell anybody.”

A daughter of Oscar and Mary (Grim) Heying, Jean attended public and Catholic schools in Anaheim. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 1942 and married Jay T. (Ted) Ruschhaupt on Sept. 9, 1942, when both spouses changed their surnames to Rusmore. 

A long-time resident of Ladera, Jean co-founded the Ladera Recreation District and the Committee for Green Foothills. A hiking group she started in the 1970’s, the Walkie Talkies, is still active. She participated in home-stay and tutoring programs for international students at Stanford, making many lifelong friends in the process. 

In an Almanac interview on the occasion of Jean’s 100th birthday, daughter Kaki Rusmore said her father, who died in 2004, got her mother into hiking, and once she started “there was no stopping her. I used to say until she hit 75 I couldn’t keep up with her on the trail.

“She was really involved in trying to protect the open spaces, and she was an early pioneer in that work. She was a very active member of the community and really always tried to make life as enjoyable and interesting for everybody that she came across.”

Jean is survived by her brother John Heying, Carlsbad, CA, and her six children and their families: Mary Lyn Rusmore Villaume, Portland, OR; Teri Coppedge, Ashland, OR; Barbara Rusmore, Bozeman, MT; John Rusmore, Elk Grove, CA; Kaki Rusmore, Aptos, CA, and Margi Rusmore, Los Angeles, along with 13 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren and many nieces, nephews, and their families.

To honor Jean’s memory, the family suggests hiking a trail, contributing to a park or environmental organization, and/or sharing some vanilla ice cream with friends.

Jean Rusmore is pictured at the dedication for a section of Bay Area Ridge Trail in 2008.

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