Carolyn Ware, 76, had flair for decorating, gardening

Carolyn Ware’s colorful flower beds and the cut flowers in her home could make anyone happy. ”She always had color in flowers inside the house, as well as outside,” said her daughter Linda Jordan. The rhododendron bushes in her yard, topping seven feet and now fully in bloom, were her prize. She also planted rosebushes and ample gladioluses, and the lilac bush she nurtured all last summer was just starting to bud. ”You saw that and you knew she put her heart and soul into it,” her daughter said, remembering how her mother walked out every day with her walker to make sure the lilac bush had ample water and the roots were taking. Mrs. Ware died Monday at the age of 76. She grew up in Portland and married Charlie Ware in 1954. From that day, she devoted her life to him, her daughter said. ”They were so interconnected, interdependent on each other,” her daughter said. ”They had that kind of bond.” Working together, her parents were like ”two peas in a pod,” Jordan remembers. She helped her husband in the painting and design aspects of his business, Ware Apartments. He rented apartment units and renovated homes, and with her sense of style and eye for color she picked out paint colors and decorated where she could. Jordan remembers that her family’s home was decorated unlike any other she knew when she was growing up. ”She’d go to antique stores, buy things and refinish things. She’d mix and match. It was the way she did things,” her daughter said. ”She had a flair to do that kind of thing.” Her attention to detail with home decor was outstanding. Jordan said that when her mother would set the table for holiday dinners, it was as if Martha Stewart had designed it herself. She may not have been outgoing in a social sense, but Mrs. Ware made a statement when she walked into a room, her daughter said. Her brightly colored clothing and sense of fashion spoke to her creative, feisty personality. ”She was feisty, and she was strong-willed,” her daughter said. When she had spinal surgery and was given a 20 percent chance that she would walk again, Mrs. Ware was determined to beat the odds. ”She was determined to go home and work on her flower gardens,” her daughter said. Because of the surgery, she missed most of the growing season last year, but was still able to recover. ”At her age, for her to pull back and say, I’m going to do it and go home,’ it’s difficult,” Jordan said. But she did. She had already cleared the flower beds on the side and was thinking about container gardens for some vegetables, her daughter said. While she was excited to see the lilac tree bud, she will never get to see it bloom, Jordan said.

Source:  Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

Portland Press Herald (ME) – Friday, April 9, 2010

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