Bouquets to Pam Bousquet

Pam and her granddaughter on Issaquah | photo by Ric Miller | post compiled by Larry Clinton

Recently, Rachelle Dorris of Issaquah Dock sent this notice to neighbors:

A bright light on the dock went dark on Friday, with the passing of 32-year resident, Pam Bousquet. She resided with her longtime partner, Cornell Ross, who passed in June, at #38 Issaquah. Pam had been an Assistant District Attorney for Marin County for 25 years, retiring 10 years ago.

In the early days of Waldo Point, Pam served as head of the Harbor Equity Group (HEG), which formed the process that allowed us to procure our permits at the county, state and federal levels. Without the HEG and her leadership we might not be here today.

During her retirement, she became a very active volunteer and fundraiser for Performing Stars, a nonprofit organization providing art, music and theater for low income and at-risk children, located in Marin City.

She is survived by her two sons and three grandchildren. In a time of this pandemic and not being able to have a memorial, Pam would have loved for donations to be made to Performing Stars,, in her memory.

We will miss you, Pam.

The Floating Times reached out to three other long-time friends of Pam’s, each of whom has served as president of the Floating Homes Association (FHA). Stan Barbarich recalled:

Thirty-three years ago, land-dweller Pam Bousquet was hunting for a floating home, and so was I. She considered #15 Liberty and decided it was not right for her. At the same moment, Sonja and I looked at #38 Issaquah and decided it was not right for us. We each bought the other’s reject home, have continued to live happily there, and over the coming years, became indispensable friends.

Pam had a great appreciation of good food that we often shared, whether a 5-course formal dinner prepared by her son Matthew, a Michelin-starred chef, a dinner of hers and Cornell’s favorites cooked by me at our home, one of our “monthly” lunches with Ric Miller and Suki Sennett at the Panama Hotel, a box of Animal Crackers brought to her in rehab by Sonja, or dinner in SF at Monsieur Benjamin with her son Ken and the grandchildren before their annual Nutcracker performance. Pam loved life and friends and family and sharing it all, and we all loved her.

In 1989, when a few of us were forming Harbor Equity Group, Pam and I met and a close friendship and collaborative working relationship was instantly cemented, which lasted to her passing. Working together with Ric, Suki and a core group of Waldo Point Harbor (WPH) residents (with Pam continually filling dozens of legal pads with detailed notes and ideas), we were able to convince WPH management that it was necessary for them to apply for new permits, and to further convince WPH, the county and the Bay Conservation and Development Committee (BCDC) that residents deserved a place at the table for all discussions on planning and construction of the new configuration of the harbor which would allow more than 20 years of litigation to be ended and new permits to be issued.

This task only required 25 years of effort, plus an additional 5 years of negotiation with WPH on new berth leases. When, in the midst of all this, I decamped to Hong Kong on business for 2 years, Pam picked up the mantle of HEG President and everything went forward, without an eye blink. Thanks to Pam’s commitment and leadership we got a much better lease that ended, among other things, the ability of the harbor to “defer a portion of lease payments” and call them in at any time, at their discretion, and their ability to pull new base rents on resale out of thin air. While working with HEG, a large group of governmental agencies, county supervisors and staff came to highly prize Pam’s research, analysis, community relationships and regulatory approaches to problem solving.

While a county prosecutor, Pam was a key member of the progressive county group that established the drug court, which advocated rehabilitation versus incarceration. After retirement, she was a mainstay of successful follow-on programs at Marin City, and many of the grateful participants became her close friends and changed their lives. In addition to her work with the Marin City Performing Stars program, she gave several young girls private piano lessons on Sundays.

We will all be fortunate to continue to be able claim Bousquet clan members as neighbors; Pam’s son Ken, his wife Jennifer and their children will be keeping the well-loved house where they spent so much time with Pam. Please welcome them to the community when they do.

Ric Miller, who moved from Issaquah to the Coachella Valley several years ago, sent along these recollections:

Pam Bousquet was my friend and neighbor whom I met on Issaquah Dock. We both came from small towns in Ohio, and both she and my mother chose the noble profession of schoolteacher.

Pam decided later in life to pursue another career as an attorney, because she cared about legally underrepresented people and wanted to do more.

When I became FHA President in 1999, the main topic was the imminent loss of our BCDC permit and the WPH “reconfiguration.” She sat me down for several hours with Hugh Lawrence from A Dock and recounted the last 20 years of the social and legal history of the Sausalito floating homes.

Over the next 10 years, I had the privilege to work with Pam and other residents to challenge a reconfiguration that would have been devastating to us in favor of a Community Development Plan that minimized extreme impacts on residents. It was found to be environmentally superior to all other plans and was approved and built over the following 6 years.

She personally gave countless of hours of time over decades. The Community Development Plan was a huge success for hundreds of people, and continues to be so. It would not have happened without her leadership.

Pam Bousquet cared for her longtime partner Cornell Ross, beloved by many, long after she was not able to do so at home.

My favorite photograph of Pam is with her granddaughter taken from the deck of the Green Heron on Issaquah Dock. I see her joy of caring and giving. On reflection, it is what she has done throughout her life. She is missed and appreciated by many.

Current FHA President Michael Labate was a member of the Gates Co-op long before Van Damme Dock was built. Today he and his wife Catherine live on A Dock. He wrote:

Years ago the Gates Co-op was invited by Waldo Point Harbor to meet along with the Floating Homes Association and Harbor Equity Group to discuss the future build-out of the new marina at WPH. We met every month for several years to discuss the layout, infrastructure, what would be included and how to have the least impact on the community. The floating home dwellers had to have a unified front and we at the co-op and they at FHA had to work together. It was an arduous task; sometimes it was a civilized battle.

When different groups get together working towards a common goal, sometimes they have the benefit of a mother hen, one who keeps everybody going toward that same goal. We were lucky to have Pam Bousquet as our mother hen. She worked tirelessly to keep all of us on track to secure our own future. Those of us who live at Waldo Point Harbor owe Pam a deep debt of gratitude. She was a quiet but powerful voice. I will always think fondly of Pam and her partner Cornell.

As yet another FHA president, I’d like to add that Pam and I shared a fascination with the history of our storied community. I recall magical evenings on her boat with showings of Last Free Ride narrated by old-timers such as Bob Kalloch. With her passing, the floating homes community has lost a little piece of its soul.