It is with great sadness that Claudia Ellquist has passed away. She was 70 years old.
She led a wonderful life filled with helping the spirit and advancement of people.
She is preceded in death by her mother Virginia and her previous husbands, Charles Minner and Warren (Scotti) Steenbergh, her husband of 17 years. She is succeeded by her husband of 24 years, John Yoakum, her father Clarence, Sisters Suzanne Ellquist, Stephanie Bianchi and Barbara (Mike Schifano) Ellquist, and numerous nephews, nieces and their offspring.
She was born in Duluth, Minnesota when her family lived in Lutsen, Minnesota, then moving extensively with her military family to numerous places including Japan. She moved to Tucson in 1962. Claudia graduated from Palo Verde High School, University of Arizona and University of Arizona Law School in 1976. That time included a two year church stay in San Francisco for a Lutheran and Episcopal church mission. Claudia spent a brief time practicing law and 40+ years on community activism, including church activities, women's organization and the Green Party.
She was a founding member of a group organizing opposition to Arizona's death penalty. She considered the death penalty immoral, unlawful and completely ineffective. She ran for Pima County Attorney four times in order to highlight the elimination of the death penalty as a public issue. That opposition will not stop with her death, because of the organizing she helped put in place. She organized NOW chapters at the city, county and state levels and served on the national board of directors for NOW. Claudia was an original member of the Arizona Clean Elections Commission, first appointed by the Arizona Legislature in 1999. She has worked tirelessly with Church Women United (CWU), Disciples Women's Fellowship, and First Christian Church. She has received a cash award from the Tucson Festival of Books or her writing in the category of non-fiction memoir. She successfully organized the county-wide effort to recall the Pima County Tax Assessor in 1994. Claudia subsequently organized volunteer efforts to pass Healthy Arizona I (Prop 203) and Healthy Arizona II (Prop 204) which successfully brought Medicaid to the state after 30 years without it.
Claudia served as a mentor, role model, and beacon of hope to many people from many walks of life of life over the last 40+ years. She has had a profound effect on her church and on the numerous people she has encountered over a lifetime of the pursuit of justice and mercy. Throughout her life, she was guided by her faith and by love. She was able to travel extensively in the US, Canada and especially Mexico where she went every year until she couldn't do it anymore.
In lieu of flowers, people are encouraged to work for passage of the ERA or a charitable donation to NOW or to the charity of their choice.
A memorial Service will be held at First Christian Church, 740 E Speedway, on Saturday, December 1st at 11am.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Claudia Dianne Ellquist, please visit our floral store.
To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Claudia Ellquist, please visit our Tree Store
A Memorial Tree was planted for Claudia
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Oasis Cremation and Funeral Care