Glenda Cole

May 28, 1944 - January 29, 2024

Location Of Death: Baker City, OR United States

Celebrating Life

Glenda Lee Cole passed away peacefully on January 29th, 2024, at Meadowbrook Place Assisted Living in Baker City. She was 79. Glenda was born in 1944 in Caldwell, Idaho to Glen and Gladys “Loretta” Hallgarth. She was almost two years old before she met her namesake father when he returned from the war, and the family made their home in south Baker where she attended South Baker Elementary and Baker Junior High schools. At Baker High School, she was active in cheerleading and graduated from BHS in 1962. She married classmate Jim Elskamp in 1961 and the young parents raised their two children, Chris and Michele, in Baker before their divorce in 1984. Glenda worked in the office of Montgomery Ward and then trained and worked as a dental assistant for Dr. Al Tiedemann for several years. She then made the long drive to Salem where she completed the application process for a position with the state. Her entry-level job was distributing food stamps out of a small kiosk-type office in Baker. She continued to grow in her career in various state positions within Oregon with her final position being Regional Branch Manager for Adult and Family Services. She was sometimes asked to speak to small groups of pregnant teenage girls. She’d begin by talking about her job while their bored faces stared ahead and wait for the right moment to grab their attention by telling them she herself was pregnant during high school. Suddenly, she had “cred” and they listened closely to her personal, inspiring story. Glenda married Don Cole of Heppner, OR in 1992. That couple could dance! They lived in Hermiston for several years before her retirement in 2002. They then moved to Baker, built their home, and settled in hosting their wonderful grandchildren in summer for a week that would put any summer camp to shame. They often volunteered their time in the Baker community for many events and organizations and attended and served in the Baker City Christian Church. Throughout her life in Baker, Glenda was active in various social and civic clubs including Jayceettes, Lady Elks, Baker Soroptimist, Me and You Dance Club, Baker Golf Club, bridge groups and others. In her retirement, she also enjoyed working an occasional shift at The Sycamore Tree in downtown Baker where most of her take home pay never made it home, but many store treasures sure did! She never met a stranger. She could laugh at herself till tears ran and soon yours would be, too. She had a warmth and humor that immediately put others at ease. She helped people who needed it. She loved her friends and family dearly and deeply. Glenda was preceded in death by her wonderful husband Don Cole and beloved son-in-law, Rick Cooper. She is survived by her son Chris Elskamp and wife Paula, of Clarkston, Washington and their children Jacob (23), Natalie (20) and Emily (18); her daughter Michele Cooper and son Max (16) of Beaverton, Oregon; sister Pat Elms of Baker City, brother Greg Hallgarth of Baker City and sister Lorna Smith of Walla Walla, Washington; loving extended family and countless special lifetime friends and those made along the way. Alzheimer’s Disease robbed her of many things over these past few years, but never stole the love in her heart, her humor or could stop her dance moves when a favorite song came on. The celebration of Glenda’s life has been postponed to a later date and details will be announced when confirmed. Memorial contributions can be made to Community Connection of Baker County, the Alzheimer’s Association of Oregon and SW Washington, or towards a pair of comfortable dancing shoes for yourself. Obituary courtesy of Grays West & Co. Pioneer Chapel.

Previous Page