JWG (jwg) wrote,

Olga Coren, may she rest in peace

On Wednesday morning, while we were still in the British Virgin Islands, we learned that Robert's mother, Olga was hospitalized with respiratory distress and then a few minutes later that she died. Robert posted a detailed description. She was 89, and had various health issues during the past few years and wasn't quite herself anymore. She was recovering well from a recent pelvic fracture, but was pretty depressed and was having a hard time being motivated to do more physical therapy so that she could be up and about. Robert's father, Bert, (90) seems to be doing pretty well; we went there right after returning home (to get better clothes). I think Robert's brother was more seriously drained by this - he lives nearby and was trying to deal with many aspects of the aftermath of the fracture.

Olga's career had been as a dictionary editor and taxonomy specialist; her name appears in many dictionaries (not as a definition, but on the staff). She was a killer Scrabble player and everyone remembered various tales, especially her insistence that henwire was a perfectly legitimate word - and who can argue with an expert?

She also was a serious wildflower aficionado and could espy and identify roadside plants while riding in the car. I never experienced that but I do remember wandering through the woods at Kirk Lake, their summer house, where she'd be pointing out plants.

We'll miss her, her intellect and good sense of humor, but perhaps it was time. They had been married for close to 70 years. Living in a retirement community was and is a good thing. There was a large pile of condolence cards and when we walked around people were always coming up to Bert to express sympathy. This will be a lot better than living completely alone.

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