Longtime Poulsbo resident Cora Elizabeth Caldart (nee Phifer), 96, died peacefully at home in Seattle on April 22, 2017. She was preceded in death by her husband of 49 years, Clyde Caldart, and her four siblings, Jean Sherstad, Joe, Lee, and Noel Phifer. She is survived by her sons Chuck and Brad Caldart, and daughters-in-law Mary Lou Kopas and Leanne Hawes, of Seattle, and her grandchildren, Elizabeth, Carson, and Dexter.
Cora was born to Joseph and Ora Phifer in Donnelley, a small town in southwestern Minnesota, on June 28, 1920. Her father died when she was five, and she and her four siblings were raised during the Depression by her mother. Cora loved her childhood in Donnelley, and remained close to her sister and brothers all of their lives. She was graduated from Donnelly High School, attended Iron Mountain Junior College in northern Minnesota, and then followed her brothers Lee and Joe into the military during WWII. Cora joined the Marines, serving at Camp Lejeune on the North Carolina coast and Camp Pendleton in southern California. While in the Marines she met her husband, North Kitsap High School graduate (and Army sergeant) Clyde Caldart. The couple married in Bremerton and settled in Poulsbo, where they raised their two sons.
Though she missed the winters (and the sun) of Minnesota, Cora came to dearly love Poulsbo and the Pacific Northwest in general. Starting as a young wife and mother, she worked for many years as the office manager at Roats Engineering in Poulsbo. She was an active member of Poulsbo Lutheran Church, serving as its president, and a board member of Martha and Mary Nursing Home, where she chaired a capital project that expanded the facility. Cora was also an early supporter of, and a dedicated volunteer for, the Poulsbo Historical Society, and gave her time to numerous other community endeavors such as being a home hospice volunteer and driving elderly neighbors and friends to medical appointments.
Her later years in Poulsbo were spent traveling, reading, enjoying family, spending time with friends, and volunteering. She was also a faithful early morning swimmer at the North Kitsap Community Pool into her early 90s.
Cora suffered a major stroke in March 2013, after which she moved to Seattle to be nearer to, and ultimately live with, her family. Despite the limitations caused by her stroke and the related cognitive decline, Cora continued to be engaged in life: often enjoying a good meal, a glass of wine, and a bowl of her favorite food, ice cream; going out for rides and short walks; listening to music; and talking and sharing with family and friends. Her strong faith helped her though some trying moments, and she continued to give thanks for life even as hers became more difficult.
Cora will be fondly remembered for her kindness, for her generosity, upbeat nature, and common sense, and for a grace and dignity that only a few possess. She may be gone from our presence, but she will never be forgotten and will always be with us in spirit.
A celebration of Cora Caldart’s life will be held at Poulsbo First Lutheran Church at 1:00 PM Saturday,
June 10. In memory of Cora, please consider donating to Martha and Mary, Lutheran Family Services, or Poulsbo First Lutheran Church.