Posts Tagged ‘noel house’


Leaves placed June 11, 2011:

Leaf placed August 28, 2013:

Leaves placed August 27, 2014:

Leaves placed May 31, 2019:

“I used to sleep in the bed next to Pearl’s. I watched as the procession of nurses and social workers came through trying to move Pearl into another place. They would argue with her and argue with her and leave, one by one. Pearl was an inspiration to all of us homeless women not to accept what people were trying to get us to do if it wasn’t right for us.”

–G., at a July 9, 2000 Memorial Service at Noel House

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Ethel "Cookie" Cooke

Ethel “Cookie” Cooke in the Noel House kitchen

Ethel Cooke (known by most of her friends as “Cookie” or “Dr Cookie”) died early in the morning of April 17, 1995 at Noel House, 2301 Second Avenue, Seattle. She had been ill with a congestive heart and pneumonia, and chose not to receive medical care when it was offered the night she died, fulfilling her wish to die at “home” and not in the hospital.

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Women line up in the alley that leads to Noel House, where the doors will open at 5:30pm. They say they brave the line, even in the rain, to be sure to get a bed for the night.Noel Dennis was one of the earliest residents of the Catholic Community Services Winter Women’s Shelter that grew into Noel House.  She was quiet, but unbelievably generous.  She gathered magazines, clothing, and other things to give to her homeless sisters in the shelter.  She used to sit in the reclining chair in the shelter lobby, and often fell asleep there.  When Noel died on August 4th, 1991, we got a call from the Medical Examiners Office.  Noel had named the shelter as her next of kin.  The women of the shelter later chose to name the program in memory of this precious individual, saying, “we shall always remember her gentle and caring nature.”

Featured Leaf August 2017

Gayle at Noel House

Gayle at Noel House

Gayle had found housing at Rose House at the time of her death. Before that she was a resident of Noel House. She was beloved in many places. Gayle was run over and killed at the corner of 2nd and Bell, in front of Noel House, while waiting for the traffic light.

Gayle’s leaf is placed at Noel House.


Janice Hibbert

Janice Hibbert at the first WHEEL Homeless Women’s Forum, 1995

Words by Michele Marchand

Originally published in Real Change June 1996

Janice Hibbert, friend to WHEEL, Noel House, and Church of Mary Magdalene, died on April 5th [1996] after a short but intense struggle with breast cancer. She will be sorely missed.

Janice began working with WHEEL (Women’s Housing, Equality and Enhancement League) last fall during the planning process for the Homeless Women’s Forum. She was homeless herself; had taken leadership at one of our self-managed shelters, and was committed to finding ways to destigmatize homelessness for her sisters at the same time she worked on finding herself a job. She’d been a registered nurse most of her adult life, but was in the process of honing her computer skills for a new career.

Her connection to WHEEL was characterized by grace and humor—a really dry, Midwestern humor. She was a statuesque woman from Nebraska; majestic in a quiet, special way.

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Margaret Jackson Leaf of Remembrance

Beloved longterm member of Noel House, Angelines and DESC (Downtown Emergency Service Center).

Margaret Jackson: A Woman of Will
by Margaret King

First printed in the premiere issue of Real Change, September 1994

Margaret Jackson died in March of this year after struggling with many health problems, primarily advanced lung disease. The last six weeks of her life were a grueling physical and emotional struggle for Margaret, entailing a revolving door of hospitalization and uncountable amounts of medication. Given her awesome strength of will (which all who knew her were familiar with) she fought hard to overcome what ailed her. But she told me many times in those weeks that she was exhausted from this fight, and that her body might be too embattled to keep it up. She died in her sleep in the hospital early in the morning of March 4, 1994. I remember feeling grateful that she died in the safety and relative comfort of the hospital, rather than on the street.
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Brandi was a member of Mary’s Place, Matt Talbot Center, and Angelines, and she had many friends at Noel House. She was loved by many people.

Leaf Location: Noel House

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Saying Goodbye to Verna Maxwell

by Michele Marchand
Originally published in Real Change November 15-28, 2001

Of all the things I did and all the things I said
Let no one try to find out who I was
An obstacle was there transforming
The actions and the manner of my life
An obstacle was often there
To silence me when I began to speak
-from “Hidden Things” by Constantine Cavafy

During a recent renovation, Noel House shelter lost its archives. The archives, carefully prepared by a former staffperson, are contained in a simple scrapbook of photographs and clippings dating back to the shelter’s beginning.

Its loss is unfortunate, since many of us old-timers were sure that the scrapbook contained a photograph of Verna Maxwell, and her beatific smile. Verna, who’d been an icon at Noel House since its early days, passed away October 28 after a short, intense struggle with a heart infection.

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Jackie & friend

Jackie Ortega (left) with friend Queenie (right).

Jackie was well loved. She had housing at the time that she died, and was still active at Mary’s Place. A Women in Black vigil was dedicated to her memory.

Jackie & her friend Queen are pictured in the 2004 Mary’s Place calendar, December:

“We are friends to the end.” Queen and Jackie have helped each other through some difficult spots in their lives, and they’ve come out with a strong friendship and a stronger faith: “God is good. God is great. We are all a product of God’s goodness.”


Featured Leaf December 2013

Cynthia Ozimek & lots of books
Cynthia once wrote the following Self Portrait:

Cynthia Lee Ozimek was born the daughter of an opera singer and sculptor turned steel worker on May 13, 1960. Raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she attended college at St. Petersburg Jr. College in Tarpon Springs Florida and lived in both the state of Georgia and Arizona before moving to Seattle in the early 1990s.

Despite suffering the ramifications of homelessness in the literal sense, Cynthia has found great joy, solace and belonging in the community of women where she has resided, on and off, for the past several years. To this end, she has made it her mission, through the written and spoken word, to advocate on behalf of those individuals in Seattle homeless women’s community who, for whatever reason, have found themselves on the outskirts of the society in which they reside. Cynthia believes that each one of God’s children has, within themselves, the power to positively affect the world in any number of ways. Her biggest dream is to publish a book of essays, vignettes and stories on the women with whom she communes each day.

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Messing in All God’s Business
by Michele Marchand
originally published in Real Change

Just after Kim Peterson took her last breath, her mother turned to Pastor Pat Simpson of Church of Mary Magdalene and said, “She’s probably up there right now messing in all God’s business.”

Kim was always messing in God’s business. She didn’t know the meaning of the words, “Leave well enough alone.” If there was even a minor injustice, Kim would speak up about it. If there was a glimmer of gossip, Kim would know about it, and would share it wherever she went.

She was a fighter, until the end. She faced unimaginable and terrifying hardships–the murder of her daughters, an unexplained and brutal hacksaw attack at Angeline’s that left her arm unusable for several months, and finally, a short battle with an aggressive and pervasive form of cancer. If any of the rest of us had been given so many trials, we would’ve been in a mental institution, said Mrs. Baldwin, Kim’s second Godmother, at an April 20th Memorial Service.

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Cassie singing

Cassie Phillips was active in the founding of Nickelsville, in WHEEL homeless women’s organizing effort, and in Real Change street newspaper. In addition to selling the Real Change, she was a member of the Real Change Editorial Committee and part of the Real Change Homeless Speaker’s Bureau. She made jewelry, crocheted and read tarot cards, and she was a published poet. Many people greatly miss her.

Cassie got a room at Jubilee Women’s Center just a few weeks before her death. Her leaf is placed at Noel House.

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Bronze Leaf of Remembrance - Cecelia "CC" PhillipsCecelia was a longterm member of Noel House who moved into housing.  She’d been living at 1811 Eastlake when she died. Her body was found at 1st & Battery, a few blocks from Noel House.

Cecelia’s leaf is placed at Noel House/Bakhita Gardens.

Rosetta Richardson

Rosetta was a dignified lady, with a great sense of humor. She was a longterm member of Noel House. Rosetta died at the shelter in spring 1994. Hers was the first death at the shelter.

Rosetta’s leaf is placed at Bakhita Gardens/Noel House. If you have memories of Rosetta, please post in the comments.

Leaf of Remembrance for Rosetta Richardson

Featured Leaf February 2015