Mrs. “Ralph Gott Road” Deer Harbor
Deer Harbor’s Gladys Roberta Gott died the same way she lived. She used the kind of grit and determination that built the “wild west” from grassroots.
Born: Feb. 27, 1922, Pueblo, Colorado.
Died: Jan. 14, 2020, Matthews, Virginia.
Parents: Oscar E. Hadwiger, Ethel L. (Gilpin) Hadwiger Heskett.
Married: Ralph G. Gott, Jan. 15, 1941.
In 1946, Gladys and Ralph bought a 5-acre pioneer fruit farm, between Deer Harbor and Pole Pass, from Walter and Oreen (Englehartson) Hilmer, for $1,100 ($50/month). Gladys’ mother owned the West Sound BeautyShop. Ralph was the personal automotive, marine and hydroplane-thunderboat mechanic for international industrialist Edgar F. Kaiser, Sr., in Deer Harbor. Gladys managed the family farm and orchard, and arranged summer flower displays on the Kaiser estate.
Much credit goes to her popularity, dedication, influence and abilities in the Deer Harbor Community Club and Orcas Island Community Church. Hostess. Gardener. Wise money manager. Example of life values. Spiritual teacher. Baker of sticky cinnamon rolls and apple pies. She organized Cider Bees and enjoyed fresh-caught cod sizzling over a campfire on Jones Island. She hand-cranked ice cream, grew and preserved her own food, and was both a seamstress and a quilter.
Together, Gladys and Ralph worked hard, played hard, prayed hard and looked after neighbors and family. Before television, self-styled island entertainment involved easy back-and-forth banter among friends. Gladys held her own with witty responses, and that’s how the colorful Legend of Ralph Gott Road was born.
Back when the road was unnamed, three families shared it —
Norton Clapp (Turtleback Mountain conservationist, mega-millionaire Weyerhaeuser Executive and Seattle Space Needle co-owner), William and Mae Brown, and Ralph and Gladys Gott.
Should the road sign read “Brown Gott Clapp”? “Gott Brown Clapp”? “Clapp Gott Brown”?
By 1965, the problem solved itself after the Brown and Gott properties were sold to Norton Clapp.
Gladys also taught at Skagit Success Business College in Mount Vernon.
1972: she built a cottage business with native intelligence, hard work and a sense of fearlessness.
1983: she sold it to a Seattle firm, for a profit.
Retired in Bellingham, Gladys received awards for her generous contributions of time and money into community services and landscape beautification.
In 2000, she moved to Gloucester, Virginia.
Gladys is survived by two daughters, Suzanne and Dorothy; 3 grandchildren, Jeannette, Karen, Mark; one son-in-law, Donald; one great-grandchild, Jordan.
Cremains will be buried at Woodlawn Cemetery (old section) on her mother’s grave. To contact the family, email firstname.lastname@example.org.