Empty Saddles

April 30, 2024

These past few months, we have lost many friends of the organization to the rangelands in the sky. We remember them here and forever in the lands they fought to protect.

Lucy Penning In Memoriam

Lucy Penning passed away peacefully at her home in Gridley, CA on February 10, 2024. Lucy grew up on her family’s cattle ranch in Leesville, CA. She attended Stonyford School and Mercy Academy in Red Bluff. In her youth, she was active in 4-H, played banjo, loved riding horses, and enjoyed raising calves and sheep. After marrying Pat Penning in 1976, they moved to Gridley in 1981 where they farmed rice and walnuts. Lucy had a green thumb and enjoyed growing flowers and vegetables. Known for her cooking and gardening, she loved entertaining and feeding family and friends. She owned and rode horses her entire life and in later years bred and raised cutting horses for competition. In 2016, Lucy and her family completed a conservation easement on their Epperson Place Ranch in Colusa County’s iconic Bear Valley. Lucy will be deeply missed by all who knew her.

Lucy Penning

Bob Foster In Memoriam

Sheldon Robert “Bob” Foster, 93, of Oroville, CA passed away peacefully at his ranch on January 21, 2024. Bob was a third-generation cattleman, following in the footsteps of his parents and grandfather. As a teenager, Bob worked for his father and mother and stepfather in their respective cattle operations, while also beginning to acquire his own herd. After high school, he continued to work with his parents and grew his own operation, leasing properties as they became available. After his father’s death in 1958, Bob took over running the ranch that was started by his grandfather. He had an incredible work ethic, was a skilled horseman and could turn his hand to almost any practical skill, including welding, carpentry, and electrical work. He was a well-respected cattleman and was admired for his devotion to his ranch and family. In addition to his busy ranch life and serving as a dedicated family man, Bob was an avid hunter who enjoyed deer hunting on the property where he had spent his entire life. Before his passing, Bob, along with his family, was in the process of pursing a conservation easement with the Rangeland Trust; we wish we would have been able to make his conservation dream a reality during his lifetime. Bob will be forever remembered for his deep integrity, endearing charm, and wonderfully dry sense of humor.


Franziska Schabram In Memoriam

On the afternoon of January 15, 2024, Franziska Schabram peacefully passed away at her home from her battle with cancer. Her cancer journey was one of courage and resilience and demonstrated the same fighting spirit she had exhibited for so many years on behalf of her land and all the creatures on it. Born and raised in Mönchengladbach, Germany, Franziska loved travel and adventure from an early age. With her husband Roland and their three daughters, the family moved to the Bay Area in 1996. In 1999, they were ready to pursue Franziska’s dream and bought their first 10-acre ranch in El Dorado County. By 2005, their ambition had outgrown the property and the family moved to Calaveras County where they purchased the Rana Ranch outside of Valley Springs, CA, and ultimately grew it to be a 750-acre, self-sustaining cattle ranch. Though Franziska would never stop traveling the world, Rana Ranch was home. In her biggest act of foresight and love for the land, Franziska ensured that Rana Ranch would forever remain untouched and unspoiled by the hands of development through her pursuit of the ranch’s conservation with the Rangeland Trust. Through her selfless dedication, she leaves behind a legacy that transcends her own lifetime—a legacy of stewardship that speaks to her vision for a world where nature and humanity coexist harmoniously.

Franziska Schabram

Orrin Sage In Memoriam

Orrin Sage passed away unexpectedly on February 12, 2024 in Grass Valley, CA. He and his wife, Cindy, lived in Santa Barbara for 50 years before returning to the land and ranching in Northern California. They shared a common vision for their life works, a long marriage, a small but successful consulting firm and a love of teaching in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Sage Associates provided environmental and agricultural consulting for over 50 years and was instrumental in the early development of conservation easements. Throughout his career, Dr. Sage worked on agricultural studies on more than 3 million acres of land in California and Nevada. Of that, over 700,000 acres are now within conservation easements, including the Hearst Ranch in San Simeon, CA which is conserved through the Rangeland Trust. A longtime donor and trusted consultant of the organization, Dr. Sage was a huge believer in the work of the Rangeland Trust and was passionate about protecting working landscapes. He will be dearly missed.

Orrin and Chia 4-wheeler Jan 2024

Hugh A. Walker In Memoriam

Judge Hugh A. Walker, a third-generation rancher from Livermore, CA, passed away peacefully on October 10, 2023. The honorable Judge Walker attended local schools before obtaining his law degree from Santa Clara University. He later went from practicing law to becoming a Superior Court judge for the State of California. Among his many other accomplishments, Judge Walker was a pioneer in wind energy and grass-fed beef. The Walker Ranch has been in the family for over 100 years and is home to cattle and wind turbines that help power the East Bay. In 2000, Judge Walker and his family completed a conservation easement on their ranch with the Rangeland Trust, forever ensuring critical habitat for a variety of wildlife species. Judge walker lived life with authenticity, zest, and always had a sparkle in his eyes. He will be remembered by all for his sense of humor, abiding love of family, friends, ranch life, and his affection for all animals, especially dogs.

Hugh Walker

Robin Flournoy In Memoriam

Our hearts were shattered as we learned that our dear friend, Robin Flournoy, sadly passed away on March 16, 2024. Robin was a member of the Rangeland Trust Visionaries’ Circle and was a longtime donor, corporate partner representative, and friend. We will all remember Robin for her bright spirit, infectious smile, giving heart, deep love of the land, and unwavering passion for protecting the Western way of life. She will be deeply missed by all. Happy trails to you in heaven, Robin Flournoy.

Robin fb photo 2

Originally published in the Rangeland Trust Spring 2024 Newsletter.