Ella “Mae” Noffsinger 1934 - 2018


Ella Mae Noffsinger, with her faithful dog Misty at her side, passed away March 22, 2018, after a life well lived. She was a long time resident of Palm Gardens Assisted Living, Woodland, California, where she had many good friends among the residents and staff. 

Ella “Mae” was born into the Center, Colorado rural ranching family of Doc and Ruth Noffsinger, March 15, 1934. Surrounded by her three older brothers Floyd (Bud), Lyle, and Bill, she soon learned to hold her own, whether handling a team on the ranch, or barrel racing at the Monte Vista Colorado Ski-Hi Stampede Rodeo.  Mae was very proud to have won the barrel racing event, while reigning as the Monte Vista, Colorado Ski-Hi Stampede Rodeo Queen in 1954.

While still a youth, she developed a hobby of researching the Native American history and occupation of the San Luis Valley, and the San Juan mountains, of southern Colorado.  She spent countless hours studying sites in, and around, what is now known as the Great Sand Dunes National Park. It was a love of western history she pursued throughout her life.

Mae’s natural musical talents were on display, while playing first cornet in the Center High School band.  She was also the recipient of high school academic honors.  The first of many academic honors her lifetime would bring. 

After leaving the family ranch, Mae traveled to Fort Collins, Colorado, where she obtained her B.A., at what was then known as Colorado A&M, now Colorado State University.  She went on to obtain her M.S. at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. While there, she began her career in research as a nematologist, and remained a researcher at UW for many years.  She was an internationally recognized figure in the field of nematology, and did critical work on setting up detection, prevention, and treatment programs on nematodes for state, regional, and national governments in this hemisphere.  She was particularly well known in California for her work setting up nematode information stations throughout the state.  Her knowledge and recommendations saved farmers millions of crop dollars. While a professor at UC Davis, she mentored many students in her chosen field of endeavor. 

After retirement, Mae spent most of her time along the coast of Brookings, Oregon, enjoying fishing, and other coastal pursuits.  She is preceded in death by her parents and brothers.  Survivors include her many nieces and nephews, as well as her close friends in the Woodland/Davis, California area.   

A family service will be held in Colorado, at a later date.  Memorial donations may be made to the Salvation Army, or the charity of your choice.   

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