Aug 20, 2019
by Eva Granahan
Salli “Raz” (Harrison) Rasberry was a beloved West County community member, cherished and known by many as the Original Hippie of Sonoma County. She died peacefully in her Freestone home surrounded by family at the age of 78, after a heartfelt, successful and fulfilling life. She accomplished a lot in her years here and elsewhere, overflowing with bold and honest accomplishments.
Last month, there was a beautiful celebration of life and Rasberry’s loving husband, Michael Eschenbach, brought photo albums for friends to look through and take home ones of special meaning. Dressed in hippie attire for the occasion, everyone had a blast looking at old photos of the community they had formed together. People rejoiced and united in fond memories of Raz and still treasure all that she was made of.
Salli was a lifelong educator and life-bringer. She co-created an artist support group called Common Ground. Determined to make a difference, Rasberry spent most of her life as an environmentalist. She practiced preservation by serving as President of the Sonoma Land Trust. She also served on the board of the original Farallones Institute, before it transformed into the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center.
Raz was very creative and skillful. Many knew her by the recognizable and masterful goods she produced. For years she lived on Coleman Valley working with a sheep ranch - harvesting, spinning, dyeing and crafting wearable wools.
Salli Rasberry is joyful spirit we will never forget who left her best for the rest of us. Her legacy lives on locally, now and forever. No doubt, our West County culture has been greatly enhanced by her and our community has lost a true gem. She was survived by her husband Michael Eschenbach, her daughter Sasha Marshall, and her grandchildren Miles Dylan Marshall and McKinley Johnson.
For those of you who may not have gotten to know this local icon, she has published a list of books over her lifetime that may be of interest. Amongst her co-authored books are The Rasberry Exercises: How to Start a School and Write a Book, Honest Business, Seven Laws of Money, Living Your Life Out Loud: How to Unlock Your Creativity and Unleash Your Joy and the most recent, Art of Dying: Honoring And Celebrating Life's Passages.
There is also a quite entertaining and educational interview published by the San Francisco Public Library of several hippie women - Salli Rasberry, Delia Moon, Denise Kaufman, Judy Goldhaft and Alexandra Jacopetti Hart. It’s facilitated by Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo, the author of Daughters of Aquarius: Women of the Sixties Counterculture. Search on YouTube for “Women of the 60s Counterculture”...at the San Francisco Public Library, to listen to these celebrated recollections. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pwhxv9ttZTM
The newest novel by Eldonna Edwards is Clover Blue, which is about a boy searching for identity in rural Freestone, Sonoma County, within a commune of the 1970s. Eldonna explores familiar themes of otherness, belonging and true definitions of home. She just completed two five-city book launch tours from Santa Barbara to Sebastopol from June 1st - August 2nd. Clover Blue is available locally at Freestone Artisan Cheese and Copperfields.
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