October 8, 1911—May 2, 2008
Eden McCloud rose just before four on Friday morning May 2, 2008 to depart this earth from Kah Tai Care Center for her resting place in the Lord in preparation for her “Next Great Adventure.” She always liked getting an early start.
She was born on October 8, 1911 near Crane, Oregon to homesteading parents, Gray and Ethyl Viola (Quier) Kenney. She lived most of her life in Northern California, retiring to Port Townsend, Washington at age eighty-five on January 1, 1996. She loved watching the seagulls and otters from her window and walking along Water Street to Don’s Pharmacy which she called the “dime store.”
Friends and family describe Eden as a Renaissance Woman. Eden and her daughter owned a company, Karen Johnson Inc. in San Francisco, California. They designed and manufactured a line of women’s clothing, for which she was the pattern maker and cutter. She was known for having the tightest marker (pattern layout) in the business and she wrote a book on pattern making.
Before her career in the fashion industry she upholstered furniture and had a dairy farm in the Sacramento Valley. She was so skilled in the care and healing of animals that the local veternarian used to consult her on difficult cases.
She could fix anything from your cow to your harvester, the zipper in your “britches” to intricate industrial sewing machines. She could design a house, complete with blueprints from the ground up, including foundation, fireplace, plumbing and wiring. She could also landscape it. She was an accomplished gardener, specializing in gloxinias and was a certified orchid grower. She was an herbalist, a story teller, and a writer, and published several children’s stories. She could play the piano and sing and conducted a children’s choir that performed on the radio in Oakland, California in the 1940’s. She became a California State Women’s Archery champion using arrows she made herself. People were astounded at the fact that this 125 pound woman could pull a 100 pound bow. We continued to be astounded at the physical strength she sustained while limited to a wheel chair after two broken hips, a broken pelvis, and a broken hand. She was also a crack shot with both rifle and pistol. She was always the best dancer on the dance floor.
Eden, however, never thought of herself as special in any way. She always figured if someone as simple as she could do a thing, any one should be able to do it, which may have accounted for a certain impatience with others, and her nick name, “Little Sarge.”
She married and divorced twice: poet and master saw-filer Eugene Grant, and dancer and highway patrolman captain Edward Breuss. While she loved to flirt and continued, even in her old age, to attract suitors, she never wavered from her resolve to never marry again. Her response to proposals was laughter and one of the statements that characterized her colorful speech, like “Why I wouldn’t marry a god in gold pants if he stood on his head in a mud puddle.”
In Eden’s later years she became a prolific artist who created land and sea scapes in solid embroidery, using thread that she dyed to achieve the subtle shading that give her textured works their photo-like quality. In the 1970s the San Franciso Museum of Fine Art appraised some of her creations (average approximate size 10x14”) at $5,000 each. In 2002 she was on the Art Port Townsend Studio Tour, and in 2006 she won a Northwind Art Center award in the Earth, Air, Fire, and Water exhibit. When asked how long it took her to create her landscapes she would say, “About an inch an hour on a clear day.” Then she’d laugh and explain that it took a lot longer to make clouds than it did to make clear skies.
Eden was interested in social and spiritual matters. She was quick to champion a cause, write to her president, and proved that you could, indeed, fight city hall. She was the oldest living member of Cosmic Cowgirls, a woman and girl-powered production and publishing house committed to transforming lives into legends. Along with basic biblical understanding and teaching, she became expert on the teachings of the Great Pyramid and the Twelve Tribes of Israel. She joined the Seventh Day Adventist Church after moving to Port Townsend.
Eden was the matriarch of the McCloud Clan and adored by family and friends. As she approached her 97th year, people were still commenting on her beauty and sense of humor. Her line is long-lived and until her passing there were five living generations, which includes her loving son Robert Grant and his wife Mary, devoted daughter Caron McCloud, beloved son-in-law James Wilson, best friend Ruth Norton, her grandchildren: Brent, Shannon, Shiloh, Brian, Aleta and Lael, seven great-grandchildren, Kirsten, Morgan, Haley, Kendra, Kyle, Austin and Russell, and four great-great grandsons, Jarrett Dylan, Cole, Cory and Austin. She will be greatly missed.
Celebration of her well lived “Great Life Adventure" was held on Sunday, May 25, at 2:30 PM, at Seventh Day Adventist Church, on the corner of Jefferson and Benton streets in Port Townsend, Washington, followed by a potluck at the Community Service Center, 1505 Franklin Street, Port Townsend. Later in the year, a second celebration will occur on her much loved Mendocino Coast in California. Further celebrations to be announced.