Anonymous ‘Friend’ helps brighten Edmonds assisted living home

By Brian Soergel | May 22, 2017
Courtesy of: Randall Hodges Randall Hodges’ photo of the Edmonds ferry dock at sunset is one of several of the photographer’s works on display at Sunrise of Edmonds.

The artwork at Sunrise of Edmonds assisted living has been updated by more than a century, thanks to a 90-year-old man who wants to remain anonymous. He wants to be known as a “Friend of Sunrise.”

For this story, we’ll just call him “John.”

Every day for more than six years, John has joined his wife – a Sunrise resident – for breakfast and dinner. She has Parkinson’s.

Over the years, John said he tired of Sunrise’s pictures and paintings of days gone by. Gone way by.

“They had 19th century English Victorian pictures all over this building,” John said recently from the dining room, residents eating lunch around him. He’s a nice man, and said the following with a smile: “They don’t really identify with anyone here. It was Victorian crap, and it was giving me indigestion.”

All righty then.

John told a version of the above to Sunrise executive director Stephen MacDonald, who said he’d contact Sunrise’s corporate office in Virginia. Corporate said OK. Replace them if you’d like.

So, what to take the place of the stodgy photos?

Enter Randall Hodges, proprietor of Randall Hodges Photography on Main Street in Edmonds. Hodges is known locally for his landscape photography.

“I knew Randall,” John said, “I love his photographs, and I’m an outdoor guy. I’m a mountain guy. I’ve skied all my life and have a home in Sun Valley, Idaho.”

Hodges immediately agreed to John’s plan to hang his photos at Sunrise.

“I gave him a good deal,” Hodges said. ““I was very excited to do it. I’ve done lots of projects like this before, but they’re usually not funded by someone who just wants to see new art. They’re funded by organizations such as hospitals and businesses.”

John took two or three of Sunrise’s artworks to Hodges’ shop, where the photographer inserted a photo and matting. For the most part, the art glorifies the Pacific Northwest – snow-capped mountains, ferries, Puget Sound – but also displays the beauty of the desert southwest.

There are still a few historical photos to see, but John said he’s pleased with Sunrise’s new look. Workers like it too, he said.

“There’s a large immigrant population on staff,” he said. “Take a look around. They are so caring, so loving. But they couldn’t relate to the Victorian era at all.”

Count Sunrise activities and volunteer coordinator Rochelle Gunn among the staff who appreciate Hodges’ bright colors. She also complimented the anonymous donor.

“He has over the years been so wonderful with being part of the Sunrise family. He’s always coming up with ways to make life that much more enriching and fulfilling for everyone here in the community.”

MacDonald is also pleased.

“We are so happy with the gift that was given to our community. It truly ties the building into the local beauty that surrounds us, not just in Edmonds, but also the Pacific Northwest. Residents now talk about places that are pictured. They remember visiting them, and talk about their experiences. The pictures have been a great addition to our building, and makes it feel even more like a home.”


Comments (2)
Posted by: Nancy Leson | May 25, 2017 18:10

Gone way by. Alrighty then. Brian Soergel, you're the reason I read The Beacon. You've always got the story, whatever the story, and you inevitably make me laugh out loud while reading it. (Or, at the very least, think: "That guy. He sure can write.") Thanks for everything you do.

Posted by: Brian E Soergel | Jun 04, 2017 17:39

Thank you, Nancy. Coming from you, that means a lot.

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