Senior Profile: Carolyn England

Newcomers welcomed with open arms

by: Photo By Susan Matneny - Carolyn England

   Madras resident Carolyn England was born 77 years ago in balmy, scenic Santa Monica and was raised there, but has no desire to move back. "There's too much traffic!" she observed.
   At Santa Monica High School one of her friends introduced her to Ken England, who she began dating. It was World War II and Ken had joined the Air Force, so when Carolyn graduated from high school in 1943 they were married in Las Vegas where he was stationed. He was about to be shipped out, when a medical problem with his ear was discovered, so instead of going overseas he served as a member of the military police on base.
   When Carolyn became pregnant with their first child, she went to live with her mother in Sacramento, Calif., and son James was born in November of 1944. Back on base, his dad couldn't get leave, but wasn't about to miss seeing his first child.
   "Ken came home AWOL at Christmas to see his baby," Carolyn related.
   Six weeks later, she and the baby boarded a train and joined Ken in El Paso, where he had been transferred. After he was discharged in 1945, he worked for Douglas Air Craft in Santa Monica, and their daughter, Judy, was born in 1946. After there was a layoff at the air craft plant, her husband retrained to be a plumber, then in 1947 they bought a house in the San Fernando Valley.
   "We went from living on the beach to 120-degree weather with no air conditioning," Carolyn recalled. The England's lived there for the next 26 years, during which time a second daughter, Carol, was born in 1957.
   They had vacationed in Bend though the years and always wanted to retire there, but fate steered them to Madras instead. "We'd been camping in Alaska for six weeks and on the way back we hit Bend at 5 p.m. and there was so much traffic we decided we didn't want to move there," Carolyn said.
   There were no houses for rent in Prineville or Redmond, but Virgil and Hazel Wanker had a rental in Madras and the Englands moved in on Aug. 16, 1973. To meet people, they showed up at a lodge gathering of the Odd Fellows and Rebekah's and were welcomed with open arms.
   In fact, it was retired lodge members who helped them build a new home on SE D Street in 1978. Carolyn worked for Glenn Strutz at Tote Pak in Madras making golf bags, and Carol graduated from Madras High in 1975.
   Carol now lives in Gresham, Judy lives in Malibu, Calif., and James and his wife (also named Carolyn) live in Madras. There are six grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren. In 1998, Ken passed away from Alzheimer's Disease, but Carolyn still lives in the spacious home they built.
   Today Carolyn is active in the Family Finders genealogy group, enjoys exercising and playing cards at the Jefferson County Senior Center, is a top lodge fund-raiser for Relay For Life, and this week will be installed as Noble Grand for the Rebekah Lodge.