Elsie Cone

We are so sad to hear that our champion friend and supporter, Elsie Cone, passed away this week at the age of 96. Mrs. Cone, along with her husband Sherwood until his death in 2006, applauded and encouraged our driving efforts for more years than we care to count.Each year, CVDC got the call in late summer, WHEN would we be there for the Annual Cones Drive and Chowder Picnic? We were at Cones Farm just this past September, where Ms Elsie sat in the sun on the back porch and told stories to those who stopped by, or sent us inside to look at her favorite paintings (“the one in the bedroom, dear, that’s a new one”). I for one have several plants in my garden, taken at her insistence – “just yank it out, stick it in the dirt when you get home, might work, might not … don’t you want to take more?” – and I think of her each time I walk by them.

Her family had this to say about her: “She was an avid gardener, loved to write; especially poems and letters, and was an adept story teller. She loved to feed people and made the best gingerbread cookies. Elsie found beauty in everything and encouraged others to do their best.”

We have been truly blessed to have such a marvelous friend.

Friends may make donations in Elsie’s memory to Middlesex Weiss Hospice Unit, c/o Middlesex Hospital Office of Philanthropy, 28 Crescent St., Middletown, CT 06457. Send cards to the family at Cones Farm, 318 East Haddam-Colchester Turnpike, East Haddam, CT 06423.
The following remembrance was written by club-member, Anne Albee, a long-time neighbor of Elsie’s:

Elsie was one of a kind.

She told me many stories of growing up, meeting Sherwood, her marriage, her kids and gardening. She really tried to make me into a gardener, but I guess my calling was elsewhere. She would call me on the phone and when I picked up and said, “Hello?” A strong voice would say, “Come and DIG!”

Despite myself, I did learn a lot about plants from Elsie, and many of her “offspring” are now thriving at my old address in Colchester.

Elsie was honest and forthright and generous. I could hardly stop for a friendly visit without taking home some bounty from her garden or kitchen cupboard, even if I protested.  She was generous, also, with her compliments. She certainly made me feel young and beautiful and talented! Except for that one time she said, “Putting on a little weight, aren’t you?”  She shared her kitties, too. I guess people loved to drop off their extra kittens at the farm and she always did her best to find them good homes. I was the recipient of an orange tabby we named Woody, after Sherwood.

When she complained about her knees hurting, and said she thought she’d have to give up gardening at around age 86, I compiled a scrapbook of pictures of her beautiful gardens. I was in awe of them and of her ability to do it all!

Elsie kept up with the times. She wanted good health for her husband and her children. She advocated Chiropractic and acupuncture, as well as conventional medicine, in her life.

Elsie loved her children, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She knew all their names and birthdays! How she did that I’ll never know! Most of all, she loved Sherwood and missed him deeply.

Elsie told me, rather sheepishly one day, that she when she awakened in the night, she would write. I asked if I could see what she wrote. She demurred, saying they weren’t worth reading, just scribbles, she said. I pressed on and lo, and behold, she went to a box and produced a handful of “scribbles” and thrust them at me. I asked if I could take them home to read. She guessed I could.

Her writings touched me. She wrote of family, everyday life, neighbors and current events. I thought I would surprise her with a small booklet of her poems and prose, so I printed them up on my computer. Though she felt her writing was too ordinary for anyone to care to read, when she saw it printed and heard the enthusiasm in my voice, she asked if I could print “a couple more, for the kids!”

To this good woman I say, Bon voyage, Godspeed and if there’s a garden where you are, I know that’s where you’ll be!

My love to all her family,

Anne Albee



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