Gordon Ross Rasmussen, 85, passed away of natural causes on Oct. 9, 2020. He was a lifelong rancher in Tassajara.
Born in Livermore on Jan. 13, 1935, his parents, Edward and Selma Rasmussen, brought him home to Tassajara to meet his sisters, Joann and Claudia. A year later his sister, Nancy was born. As a young boy, he loved the ranch and learned to ride his horse so he could gather cattle with his father and grandfather, John C. Rasmussen.
Gordon attended school at the Tassajara Schoolhouse until the 6th grade, when the students were sent to Danville School District. Gordon graduated from San Ramon High School in 1952 and earned his college degree in animal husbandry at University of California, Davis. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and was assigned to Naval Air Division from 1956 to 1958, and to the Naval Air Reserve from 1958 to 1959.
Anxious to begin his beef cattle career, he returned to Tassajara and worked with his father, and rented available ranches in the area. He became involved in the beef organizations and served as secretary-treasurer of the Contra Costa - Alameda County Cattlemen’s Association, later as vice president and president, receiving the Cattleman of the Year award in 1964. He also worked on committees with the California Cattlemen’s Association and served a term as vice president and then treasurer for six years. He was a member of the California Beef Council and was president.
In 1991, Gordon received the honor of ‘California Livestock Man of the Year,’ an award presented by the California Chamber of Commerce.
In 1961, Gordon married Karen Kramer and had three children, Kari, Ross and John. They made their home on the ranch and when development began in Tassajara, Gordon purchased land in Dixon, to expand the cattle operation into the future.
Gordon continued his interest in the beef organizations and served on the Cattle Fax board (marketing arm of National Cattlemen’s Association) and later as president. The National Cattlemen’s Executive Board, The Cattlemen’s Beef Board was established, and he served on the board for several terms.
Locally, Gordon was a founder, organizer and director of the Livermore National Bank until it was sold in 1968. He was director of Community First National Bank, Pleasanton, until it merged with U.S. Bank in 1991. He was also a director of Livermore Production Credit Association from 1969 to 1987 and chairman from 1975 to 1987. Gordon was on the board of directors of the Dublin Cemetery Corporation for many years and served as president in 1993.
He was a founder and organizer of the Tassajara Volunteer Fire District and served as a commissioner for 12 years and chairman for eight, while serving as assistant chief. He also was a board member and president of the Contra Costa County Fire Commissioners. He was a member of the Pleasanton Men’s Club, the Alameda and Contra Costa County Farm Bureaus, Livermore Study Group, Solano County Cattlemens Association and Rancheros Visitadores.
Gordon and Karen loved to travel and toured many states with agricultural tour groups. They also toured Ireland and Scotland with fellow Cattlemen, as well as Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. He enjoyed visiting Denmark and relatives, and they ventured to China and Egypt.
In later years, as the family increased, he enjoyed the grandchildren and now, the great grandchildren. Gordon had a wonderful life, enjoying his family, loving his cattle business and friends, and helping to make the world a better place.
He is survived by his wife, Karen; daughter, Kari Wheeler (Doug); son, Ross (Kim); son, John, (Carrie); ‘like son,’ Bruce Lillis (Cat); grandchildren, Kelsi Wheeler Peiffer (Julian), Jake Wheeler (Alicia), Kayla Wheeler Dunlap (Jacob), Kassi Rasmussen Dunlap (Blake), Garrett Rasmussen (fiancé Paige Gillooley), Tom Rasmussen and Callie Rasmussen; great grandchildren, Audree Peiffer, Emmett Wheeler, and soon to be Riley Dunlap; sisters, Claudia Juhl and Nancy Ramsey; sister in-law, Doris Kramer; and many loving nieces and nephews.
Private family services were held at the Dublin Pioneer Cemetery, on Oct. 15, 2020, (due to Covid-19).