A FULLY-BLOOMED LIFE
When Jenny Swanson was going through old family photos recently, she came across an undated clipping from the Sherwood Gazette.
"On the corner of Main St. and 1st is a beautiful planting of blooming flowers," the clipping read in part. "This corner is a bright spot from spring thru summer."
The reason for that bright spot was Eileen Cole, Swanson's grandmother, who passed away in January at the age of 88. Cole lived in that house at 16186 N.W. First St. with her husband, Louis Cole, for about 65 years.
The couple moved to Oregon in the late 1940s from Minnesota, and together they raised four children and operated Cole's Automotive, where the Sherwood Tailoring shop now stands in Old Town. Cole sat on the organizing board of the Robin Hood Festival — and was knighted — played Mrs. Clause in the Sherwood Holiday Festival, and was active at the Sherwood Senior Center in her later years.
She loved to dance, spend time with family and to garden.
"She always kept it very nice and tidy there," Swanson said. "People would always walk by, and she'd get lots of comments of how pretty it looked."
Because of the home's central location, folks would often stop and sit on Cole's lawn, Swanson remembered.
"As a kid, we were always annoyed — and she never cared," she said. "She'd just come out on her porch and chat with people. ... She was very gregarious, always talking to anyone — literally, anyone. Not really afraid to speak her mind, and always wanting to chat with anybody, if you were out there and she was out working in her yard."
As she grew older, Cole recruited her granddaughter (Swanson's cousin) to help her keep up her garden. She maintained a love of gardening until the end, Swanson said.
"Often Mrs. Cole can be seen weeding and caring for the flower bed," the old Gazette clipping read. "It is efforts like this that keep Sherwood looking like the great little town it is."