In Memoriam: Gladys Bones
The first week of March 1999, our chapter and our town said goodbye to Gladys. Her sons, their families, and her many friends are left with memories of a loving, jovial woman who met the adversity and challenges of life with faith, determination, and humor none of us will forget.
Gladys was born in Portland, Ore., in 1924, grew up in Taft, married Joe Bones in 1940, and moved to Florence in 1948 where she raised her three boys. After Joe died in 1969 she moved her family to a lovely wooded section north of town and built her home of 39 years. Through hard work and an inherent love of gardening she developed five acres bordered by a stream feeding Lily Lake to the west. She grew vegetables to feed her family and ran steers on a hill to the south. Fuchsias, azaleas, and rhododendrons flourished under a natural talent. Son Mike opened Bones Nursery across the roadway; and in 1983 Gladys and son Danny began rhody sales at their Rhododendrons Plus.
During the next 16 years, as a member of the ARS Siuslaw Chapter and the North Fork Grange and as den mother for local Scouting, she became known, respected and loved for what she was: caring, straight-forward, affectionate, and a tad mischievous. December of 1998, the Siuslaw Chapter presented Gladys with the ARS Bronze Medal in appreciation of her years of always dependable service. Although normally vocal, she was eloquent in her silence as she accepted the honor. Three months later she passed on.
If you visit our town in spring, stop where rhody blossoms riot along both sides of Highway 101. Drive into Rhododendrons Plus. Say hello to Danny. Walk along the rock drive past 'Dame Nellie Melba', 'Red Majesty', R. rex, 'Ermine', and a white R. macrophyllum to a copse of hundred-foot tall Sitka spruce that hide the nursery from the ocean. Imagine a quiet, pre-occupied woman in T-shirt and baggy Levis inspecting a young 'Cynthia', then pushing a baseball cap back from a sweat-moistened brow, pausing to hear the wind in the pines, a finch's busy whistle, the ocean's distant whisper. And remember a true earth mother - Gladys Bones.