Sara Estell Rouse retired from nursing when she married Charles Rouse in 1904. With four other retired nurses, she formed the Married Nurses Club. In 1918, they answered the call to help those afflicted by the worldwide influenza pandemic that had begun in 1917. These volunteer nurses worked in Palm Springs, putting in weeks of long hours until the epidemic began to subside. The Married Nurses Club evolved into a social organization called The Nightingales, after the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale. This organization still exists as of 2014 and gives scholarships to Riverside City College nursing students.
Estell, like her husband Charles, was an artist, sculpting in wood and metal and is listed in “Artists in California 1786—1940” by Edan Milton Hughes (Hughes Publishing 1989).
They lived in their studio home at the foot of Mount Rubidoux on Glenwood Drive. She was active in the Riverside Art Association from its formation in 1931
Estell was president of the Riverside Art Association in 1937—1938 and during that year, she launched “Operation De Anza.” She committed her efforts to commissioning and raising a statue of Spanish explorer Juan Bautista De Anza, who passed through Riverside in 1774 and again in 1776.
She chaired the committee for the next three years as Sherri Peticolas designed the sculpture. The Federal Arts Project, a branch of the Federal Works Project Administration, executed the design in marble. The great grandson of De Anza, a boy named Lastenau, posed as the model.
In May 1940, approximately 35,000 attended the dedication of the statue in Newman Park at the corner of Fourteenth Street and Magnolia Avenue. Thirty-four of De Anza’s direct descendants took part in the De Anza Days fiesta. The festival was held throughout the 1940s.
The Rouses had a son, Gaylor Rouse, named after his grandfather, and a daughter named Frances Rouse Patterson.