It is with deep sadness that I write this tribute for Ken Coole, a true supporter of over thirty years to the Marysville Strawberry Festival and the Marysville community.

I met Ken and his brother Walt, at the first Seattle Seafair Parade the Marysville Strawberry Festival Float was invited to attend. For a reason known only to the “Berry Gods,” they attached themselves to our organization and that bond held true for all these years. In the early days of the Maryfest Organization, we reached out to every Festival we could, for any help they could provide us in building the Strawberry Festival. Help came to us from Don Jones, President of Seafair, which included Parade assistance from the Seafair Parade Marshals, of which Ken and Walt were both involved. You could count on the Coole brothers showing up Festival weekend, riding into town on their motorcycles and helping out wherever they could.

We have lost this unwavering supporter and true friend. Walt passed away several years ago and Ken passed away onMay 29, 2018. Ken had a cautious sense of the positive and he managed to pass that on to all who knew him. You could sit in a meeting with him and he would provide you with a perspective that you may not have thought about, shedding light on a whole new way of solving a problem or making an event better. One of Ken’s proudest moments came a couple of months ago when he was knighted by Seafair. He was so proud of that and I can relate as I was knighted as well many years ago, along with Jim Brennick, Dennis Kendall and Ben Van Dam. That is the highest honor you can receive from Seafair and one to be treasured always.

I have had the honor of working with and cultivating friendships with some of the most generous, talented and dedicated “Festival People” in my over 30 years. I, and many others in our organization, accepted Ken, and Walt, as part of our “Festival Family.” Our family is now missing two of its members and we will miss Ken terribly. There will always be a chair at our meetings for him, there will not be a Parade we attend that we do not wait to hear his motorcycle following us, and our Parade will always be one personnel short-but he will always be with us in spirit. We can think he is with Walt, on their heavenly bikes escorting the Heavenly Parade, smiling down on all of us, discussing the Parade Lineup, and what we should have done. We will smile back, remembering all they gave us over the years-treasured memories that will live on forever, never to be forgotten. Ride like the wind my friend-and start the Parade on time.

Cheryl Deckard

Maryfest Inc.

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