April 5, 1924 — May 5, 2019
Caroline May Gentle Ward was born on April 5, 1924 to Olive Elizabeth Schmitt Gentle and James William Gentle on the dairy farm operated by her father and grandfather, Oregon Normal School Professor Thomas H. Gentle, principal of the training school.
Caroline attended the Monmouth Training School, the laboratory school at Oregon Normal School. She went on to graduate from Monmouth High School and Oregon College of Education, receiving her three-year teaching certificate in 1944. Her first teaching position was at Riverdale Elementary School in Dunthorpe in Portland’s West Hills. Caroline taught at Riverdale for two years. She took evening classes in Portland and attended Oregon College of Education both summers to earn her bachelor of elementary education degree in 1946.
Caroline and Buel John Ward, of Sand Lake, were married on June 30, 1946 at her parent’s home in Monmouth. They lived in Eugene while Buel attended the University of Oregon on the GI Bill to complete class requirements for a master of education degree. Caroline taught in the Eugene Public Schools.
They next accepted teaching positions in Klamath Falls, where they remained for five years, working as fire lookouts for the U.S. Forest Service during the summers. Later they moved to Salem, where Caroline continued to teach and Buel worked in the engineering laboratory of the Oregon State Highway Department.
In 1954, they accepted teaching positions on the Pribilof Islands off the coast of Alaska. Upon their return to Oregon in 1956, they settled on the Oregon Coast, where they built their home in Gearhart. Buel taught in Astoria while Caroline taught in Seaside and was a librarian in Gearhart. Buel retired from the public schools in 1971 and Caroline in 1983.
Throughout their lives together, Caroline and Buel enjoyed travel and the outdoors. They were avid campers and explored the natural wonders of the west, taking many backpacking trips into the Wallowas, visiting national parks and introducing younger relatives to the wonders of nature. They spent a year traveling in Europe, opening the wider world to their son and niece and took many subsequent shorter trips, including a freighter journey around the world.
Buel died in the Gearhart home overlooking the Pacific Ocean in 1999. Caroline continued living in their home and remained active in local affairs, being a dedicated member of the Gearhart Planning Commission, PEO and her quilting group. She continued her support of Western Oregon University and the Friends of the Gentle House, a volunteer group concerned with Professor Gentle’s historic home, and a professorship honoring her grandfather.
Buel and Caroline also established a conservation easement on the family farm in Monmouth through the North Coast Land Conservancy, protecting in perpetuity a vital riparian zone and a Native American site.
Caroline is survived by her children, Eva Sollars (Dan), of Knappa, and Carlton Ward, of Warrenton;grandsons, Greg Sollars, of Meridian, Idaho, and Jim Sollars (Roanna), of Knappa; five great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren; sister, Margaret Hall, of Monmouth; nephew, Steven Hall (Karen), of Tigard;niece, Madeline Fisher (Joe), of Monmouth; and numerous cousins, great-nieces and nephews and many friends.
Very special thanks to her caregivers and Mary Rizzo.
At Caroline’s request, there will be no formal memorial service. However, if you should wish to honor her life, please enjoy a walk on the beach and remember how amazing it is.
Donations may be made in her memory to the North Coast Land Conservancy, P.O. Box 67, Seaside, OR., 97138 or Western Foundation/Thomas H. Gentle Endowed Professorship, Western Oregon University, Monmouth, OR., 97361.
Caldwell’s Luce-Layton Mortuary is in charge of arrangements. Please sign our online guest book at www.caldwellsmortuary.com