The Other Side of 50 December 2011

Anne Gladwill — a Golden Rose for all seasons

By From page D3 | December 30, 2011

Herself a rose for all seasons, Anne Gladwill, 82, of Garden Valley was selected as Golden Rose 2011.

A noted artist, longtime rancher and community leader, Gladwill is beloved in the community and famous for her paintings.

Her series, “The Four Seasons” is well-known among collectors around the world. It captures the glories of El Dorado County in spring, summer, autumn and winter.

Though totally surprised by the accolade of becoming “Golden Rose,” Gladwill is delighted.

“I don’t know how my children managed to get me to the program,” Gladwill said. “I was so surprised when they honored me. But I am absolutely delighted!”

Normally the Golden Rose, who is chosen secretly by a committee, is announced at the annual Rose Ball. It was impossible for Gladwill to attend the Rose Ball. She wasn’t even going to be in town.

The committee, certain that their selection was perfect, simply changed their plans. Like strong roses that adapt to circumstances, they decided to unveil the Golden Rose at the annual Rose Pageant instead.

Petite, slender and vibrant, the diminutive Gladwill wore a perfect gown to the Rose Pageant, unwittingly exemplifying the Rose ideal.

Hand-embroidered, old-fashioned and beautiful, the vintage dress offset Gladwill’s youthful splendor, sparkling blue eyes and dedication to honoring El Dorado County heritage.

All the attributes

Despite her young demeanor and manner (so like her precious, vibrant predecessor, 2010 Golden Rose Vivian Carpenter), Gladwill personifies the attributes of a Golden Rose.

This accolade is given to women whose age, health or other circumstances has prevented them from becoming a Rose candidate. The rigors of Rosedom and upholding the duties of El Dorado Rose is daunting, and it can be too rigorous for Golden Roses. Gladwill appears to have Rose energy, but has been wise enough to resist overextending herself.

“I always had the sense to say ‘No’ when they wanted to nominate me for El Dorado Rose,” mused Gladwill good-naturedly. “In Girl Scouts, we earn badges … I didn’t think I was deserving. What a lovely surprise!”

Natural passion

As usual, the Rose Committee’s choice seems apt. Gladwill is the typical Golden Rose, glowing with good will, yet down-to-earth. Her contribution to the community is legendary, yet her accomplishments are taken in stride.

Like other Golden Roses, she is modest about her achievements. She simply does, and has done what she thinks is the right thing to do, oblivious to reward and her own precious contribution.

With her passion for art, her horses, her ranch and family, Gladwill’s selection as Golden Rose seems natural. Had she become an El Dorado Rose earlier, she would have been too busy to give it her all. It has also allowed her paintings to flourish and to gladden the hearts of art aficionados everywhere.

“I had no clue whatsoever about becoming Golden Rose. I don’t know how the kids got me there. It’s going to be fun,” Gladwill said with her usual vivaciousness.

As Golden Rose, Gladwill’s commitment is a bit more flexible. She can attend functions and grace the community with her presence at her discretion, when time, health and energy allows.

Like other Golden Roses, Gladwill adores dressing up, and looks exquisite in her beautiful garments. She enjoys Rose activities and will attend events when possible, but she can be prudent and not over do.

After a lifetime of glowing health, Gladwill recently felt faint while attending a church service. All is well, but it reminded her of the need for taking care of herself.

“I don’t feel 82,” Gladwill asserted thankfully and modestly. “I breathe nice, clean air up here. I am so lucky to have my daughter near by and to live in such a beautiful place.”

Ranch life

Indeed, the Garden Valley ranch is phenomenal, and Gladwill’s love of horses, animals and nature flourishes.

Taking care of the ranch and the horses can be daunting, but it seems to keep Gladwill young. She and her late husband Charles purchased the property years ago, creating a legacy and an enviable life style whose challenges were embraced by Gladwill. A pilot, her husband was often absent, so Gladwill carried on, raising her children, minding the ranch and working hard on the ranch and at the Sacramento Bee.

In the meantime, Gladwill was active in Girl Scouts (Loie Bonzer, El Dorado County’s legendary Girl Scout champion/heroine is her dear friend, a fellow Girl Scout leader who encouraged the program, which Bonzer and Gladwill, among others know is so valuable and empowering to young girls everywhere), Boy Scouts, 4-H and myriad other organizations.

Thus Gladwill was generous with her skills and talents, sharing them in remarkable ways with the community.

She credits her children with spurring her to community service.

“If your kids become involved, so do you,” Gladwill said.

Gladwill’s commitment was to her husband and family. Raising her daughter Melinda and son Steve with the values she grew up with in Ohio.

The daughter of an architect, whose mother painted, Gladwill was raised in a town near Cincinnati. Gladwill was firmly rooted in Midwestern values, but knew from early childhood what she wanted to pursue art.

Natural seasons

The story of Gladwill’s progression as an artist requires another whole article — this story is about Gladwill’s Golden Rose honor. However, Gladwill revelled in her talent from earliest childhood, and learned along the way. The first step to hone her talent was to learn how to draw.

“Once you learn to draw,” she explained, “you can draw anything.”

Among her accomplishments as an artist (including, but not limited to numerous awards and prizes, her affiliation with Flowers on Main, the Studio Tour and other artist associations) was an early job designing greeting cards for the Gebson Greeting Card Company, a real coupe for a woman of her time, and certainly a boon for any artist.

Working in one’s chosen field is a blessing for anyone in the arts.

Gladwill attended night school and was offered a scholarship. Gladwill is delighted that her granddaughter attends art school. She is proud to have taught Thomas Kinkade and she is appreciative of his extraordinary talent and career.

In the meantime, Gladwill made her own mark in the art world, gracing the walls of homes everywhere with prints of “The Four Seasons” as well as her other creations.

Prints and greeting cards depicting “The Four Seasons” in El Dorado County reflect this county’s geography and heritage. Whimsical but accurate, the scene starts downtown, with multi-layered and dimensional depictions of the county’s landmarks and heritage.

Gladwill’s first “Season” painting was featured on the cover of the Sacramento Bee’s “Home Magazine.” The reaction was phenomenal. Not only did Gladwill complete the seasons on future editions of the magazine, she was offered a job, becoming their special sections editor.

For some 14 years, Gladwill worked at the Bee, enriching the special sections with her penchant and eye for art.

She was also managing the ranch and her family, but enjoyed her career immensely.

She doesn’t complain about how busy and daunting it must have been. Typical of her generation and fellow Roses, she seemed to be able to do it all with joy, verve, perseverance and little fanfare.

As seasons evolve

The first “Seasons” cover of the Sacramento Bee’s special section brought phone calls galore.

“Someone suggested that I have prints made. It seems that everyone who wanted one has got it now,” Gladwill observed. “I think that the prints are popular because they have everything that people live here for.”

Indeed, each season reveals aspects of El Dorado County beauty, heritage and special places. The county, so big and so historical boasts of Gold Discovery, Apple Hill, recreational opportunities and a quaint downtown and myriad other assets — all reflected by “The Four Seasons.”

These days, “The Four Seasons” is a fond legacy, prints cherished by their owners everywhere, especially local residents. They are still popular, but greeting cards depicting the “Four Season” are the most purchased these days, more affordable but still representative of a wonderful concept. The greeting cards, and the originals and prints are still on display at Gold Country Artist’s Gallery on Main Street, Placerville.

Natural country

Originally some 640 acres, Gladwill’s ranch is legendary. The pastures and grass are abundant, making her property in demand for grazing. In fact, horse feed is unnecessary with the verdant spring pasture. The 40 acre pasture is a blessing that Gladwill willingly shares with others, including her veterinarian’s horse, Num Nums.

“Most of my horses are rescues,” Gladwill explained. Then she talks about her association with Ponies of America, and takes delight in comparing the nature of horses, mentioning a “Tennessee walker” and a bred-down Appaloosa.

Like the four seasons, the aspects of Gladwill’s life are multi-dimensional. She met her pilot husband in Hawaii and kept in contact with him. They married in Newburg, N.Y. in 1952. She has managed the loneliness of widowhood by keeping busy and cherishing family, and feeling blessed to friends, family and horses close by.

A season of Rosedom

Reading the list of Golden Roses, one is awed by how the names resonate in El Dorado County heritage. From the first Golden Rose in 1985, Florence Sweeney, to Juanita Grimm (1995), to Clara Schreiber (1999), to Moni Gilmore (2002) and all the others, it is enriching to know how these staunch women contributed to the community and times.

Meeting and knowing these truly amazing women, is awe-inspiring. They look sweet, their faces reflecting the love and wisdom of age, barely revealing the struggles, hard labor and accomplishments. They never seem to “blow their horns” or to glorify their roles in life.

But the Golden Rose sash does glorify and honor, tangible evidence of a life lived with the willingness to serve and appropriate action. They’ve planted seeds, nourished hopes and created a golden legacy.

Gladwill’s season as a Rose will be as perennial as the “Four Seasons” as her Golden Rose designation makes her a member of the Rose Court forever. But even without Golden Rose status, Gladwill’s golden talents and compassion has enriched the world.

e-mail: [email protected]

Susana Carey Wey

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