Louise R. (Root) GodfreyNovember 22, 1916 ~ April 4, 2016 (age 99)
Louise Glover Root Godfrey
November 22, 1915 - April 4, 2016
With roots to Oregon pioneers, Louise passed away just a shade over 100 years. Her ancestor Philip Glover was the captain of a wagon train on the Oregon Trail in 1847. The family settled near Salem in the Waldo Hills region.
Louise was born in Walla Walla November 22, 1915 to her parents George Harvey Root and Mabel Clarissa Glover. At the age of eight, her family moved to Hermiston remaining there until 1923 when Portland became their final home.
Hermiston is where she started school to continue in Portland at Glencoe grade then on to Washington High School where oratory peaked her interest.
As a senior at Washington, she entered the National Oratorical Contest on the Constitution sponsored by The Oregonian, The Oregon Bar Association and other Portland high schools. She won the state competition and went to LA as Oregon's representative to compete in the Pacific Coast Finals.
She was the only female on the panel.
Wearing a pink lace dress, in a "musical contralto voice of marvelous smoothness" she spoke on her topic The Constitution Tomorrow.
While not the winner, the experience was well worth the effort it took to face such a daunting challenge for one so young.
She was 15 years old at the time. Her scrapbook notes say the student body gave her an apple!
Graduating from Washington, she went on to study at Reed College on scholarship, completing her higher education at Stanford University.
Returning to Portland her first job was with the Portland Symphony Orchestra in their ticket office at the J.K. Gill building. She became secretary of Stadium Philharmonic concerts and acting manager in charge of the orchestra's business office.
She took over when James Richardson left the manager post to go on to his new job with the Multnomah Athletic Club (MAC).
It was this association which took Louise to her many years as secretary to the manager of MAC first under Mr. Richardson then with Verne Perry.
Mr. Richardson took Louise along with him. He did not want to part with this gem of a girl!
And it was at MAC she met her future husband. Dick Godfrey, a reporter with The Oregonian, was editor of the Winged M, the monthly bulletin put out for MAC members. Louise as the manager's secretary was given the job and their exchanging ideas cemented their courtship.
Louise and Dick married at 7 PM October 25, 1948 in a simple home ceremony, Bounce the family dog in rapt attendance.
Dick came with two daughters and their first home was on SW Davenport Court. The new family was adopted by another "family", Sophie a raccoon and her babies arrived each evening for their handouts! Louise wrote their story for the local paper, complete with photos of these charming creatures.
From this first home, the Godfrey's (or as Dick discovered "Yerfdog's" the name spelled backwards and a puzzle to the mailman when he first saw it on a letter!) moved to SW Patton Road. A home of great history on Portland Heights being 100 years old when purchased.
A surprise feature was what the family called "the stove room" an annexed bedroom complete with a small franklin stove at the front of the house.
As the girls became teenagers, the stove room became a focus of several discussions of who got to stay there. An advantage was one door opened directly onto the front porch, a private entrance (and exit) much coveted by teens!
Louise developed her interest in gardening on Patton Road and continued in earnest when they moved around the corner to SW Montgomery Drive (to "the Koegel" house). Larger than the last with great areas to develop a spectacular garden full of native Oregon plants, the Godfrey's spent many a happy hour on the deck watching birds and entertaining a huge compliment of family and friends.
Over the years she became a gourmet cook having come from a household where her mother cooked up a storm. When her mother no longer was able to host the family gatherings, Louise took up the mantle with great style.
A franklin stove graced the kitchen on Montgomery Drive(and served to heat the kitchen when those winter silver thaws hit Portland, lasting often up to two weeks!) but without that "exit" from Patton Road.
Louise retired from the MAC in 1970 after 32 years as the manager's secretary, editor of the Winged M and author of the Club's 75th anniversary history. (The current Club archivist said of that work it was the best history of the Club he ever read.)
There was a few years hiatus when Louise joined the WAVES during WW II.
She was stationed in Seattle with the rank of lieutenant as a communication specialist at the Naval Station. Those were the days she referred to herself as "a lady sailor."
Louise often reminded her elder daughter to not forget her MAC pension of $87.16 when counting the family "fortune" !
Dick and Louise had purchased a piece of property she called "our ten acres covered with deer tracks" on Trubel Road in Sandy, OR. Undeveloped, they eventually added a wood shed, a tool shed and a small cabin (complete with wood stove of course). For many years, "the woods" was where family and friends came to cut the perfect Christmas tree, have a picnic or just sit and enjoy the peacefulness of nature.
Dick was a great chopper of wood, Louise planting a vegetable garden and their dear friends the Porter clan who built the bridge across Tickle Creek at the lower edge of the property. Often a place abuzz with activity on weekends.
Children of all ages dug in the "bottle works" an old dump from some prior owner, finding many a treasure to take home and cherish.
Dick retired first and once Louise did, they spent more time in the woods, or went for coffee and a cookie known as "a four o'clock" to Vita Lee's cafe or just took rides around Portland and the northwest.
Louise became an avid hiker in our mountains, keeping a log of the flowers found along the way. She added photography and trail guide to her many talents.
Also a volunteer with the Oregon Historical Society as the quarterly indexer, The Rae Selling Berry Garden as the seed cataloger and supporting several local charities of interest to her.
SW Montgomery Drive became a resting place for visiting relatives, the upstairs rooms comfortable to company from as far away as Germany.
With Dick's passing, Louise continued to stay on Montgomery Drive, but thought it best to sell the woods. She missed her neighbors there and the llamas they owned but would quietly drive up to Sandy to just check out the place.
She continued to drive until age 94 when open heart surgery made it necessary to give up the station wagon. It took her six months to find a new home for it, but she was happy when the young man at Toyota bought it for his family touring car!
At the age of 96, she sold the Montgomery Drive house (then known as "the Godfrey" house) and moved to All Comfort Residential Care on SW 35th in Portland.
One feature of ACC was the library room which framed in the large picture window Mt Hood in all it's glory. She made at least two daily trips up to watch the ever changing mountain and to remember her days of hiking all those trails.
At ACC she made many new friends and watched as an elevator was installed to serve the lower floor. She was its first passenger!
The staff at ACC to a person were kind and caring of her. She considered them all her friends as well as caregivers.
Family provided "Louise Tea's" for her, hosted in the same library room. She loved them!
There will a final memorial tea for her at Leach Botanic Garden since it was her choice not to have a funeral. (date and time pending)
She had agreed to a 100th birthday party when it was called "a Louise Tea!"
Louise will be remembered for her many facets; interests ranging from botanic to simple things like sharing family stories.
Those who knew her well knew her to be a student all of her life. A realized characterization at age 15 when she competed in the oratory contest, wearing her pink lace gown with the lights shining on her blond hair, a diminutive gal with a great deal of spunk.
We say a fond farewell to her, knowing her shoes will be hard for us to fill. She was always ready to embrace any new adventure.
In her memory those who wish may contribute to The Friends of The Gorge; Leach Botanic Garden, Reed College or to the Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank and Concervation Program through Portland State University.
Survived by daughter Martha Godfrey Dixon, three grandchildren and eight great grandchildren! and several cousins.