Ardyce Elaine Hanson Koobs
1928 - 2008
Ardyce Koobs, a violinist, was known in her lifetime not only as an accomplished musician but also as a visionary and decisive leader who cared about people and the Loma Linda, California, community. She was deeply involved in efforts that led to the incorporation of that community and later would serve as its first woman mayor.
Koobs was born in Hutchinson, Minnesota, the only daughter of Ida Mae Larsen and James Oliver Hanson. Following graduation in 1945 from Arizona Academy, now Thunderbird Academy, as valedictorian of her senior class, she enrolled at La Sierra College, now university, where she majored in music. During her time at LSC, the school gained accreditation as a four-year degree-granting college.
Beginning in her academy years, Hanson was recognized as a talented performer and, during her time there and later at LSU, was a frequent soloist. She enjoyed playing chamber music and was able to be an equal partner with Alfred Walters, who came to LSC in 1947 and became her violin teacher midway through her studies.
After graduating from LSC in 1949, she worked as a secretary and lived near White Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles. During that time she met Dick Koobs, a medical student at the College of Medical Evangelists, now Loma Linda University, who had attended what is now Southwestern Adventist University.
They married in San Antonio, Texas, following completion of his program in 1955 and an internship residency at WMH. He would eventually also earn a Ph.D. and teach at LLU as a professor of pathology.
About a decade later, Koobs began urging the residents of Loma Linda to seek incorporation for their community. She and others formed a committee that tenaciously pursued this goal and succeeded in achieving it in 1970.
In 1974, she ran for a seat on the city council. She proved to be a formidable candidate and even though her opposition spent considerable resources and time in running his campaign, she won by a landslide. For the next sixteen years she served on the city council and was chosen mayor by its members from 1980 to 1986. She was an advocate for maintaining open spaces in that city which can now claim 2,000 acres set aside for that purpose.
Loma Linda's Chamber of Commerce voted her its Citizen of the Year in January 2007, an award given her by the mayor of the city. The day of its declaration was designated as Ardyce Koobs Day.
All during these years, Koobs continued to be involved in music, playing her violin in the Pasadena, Riverside, and Redlands symphony orchestras. In addition to continuing to perform as a soloist, she also helped organize the Southern California Young Artists' Symphony and taught violin at Loma Linda Academy. That interest in and support of music continued even after her death in May 2008, when an estate gift to La Sierra University included funds for a Steinway concert grand and a chamber music endowment that will pay for artists to play in a concert series.
Sources: Darla Martin Tucker, "Alumna's legacy makes beautiful music," La Sierra University alumni magazine and website, Darrell R. Santschi, "Citizen of Year: The accomplished violinist served as city's first mayor." press release, The Press-Enterprise, 25 January 2007; 1948 Meteor, LSC yearbook; Numerous articles in the Pacific Union Recorder, 1940s; The Record, Southwestern Union magazine, 1 June 1955, 2, and 2 October 1963, 5.