Friends planted a garden to brighten a sick friend’s day. Now it’s her memorial – InForum

FARGO — Rose Gunstenson, 77,

died on Wednesday afternoon, June 1

, without seeing the flower garden that her friends at One Oak Place, a senior living community in south Fargo, planted for her that very morning

But she knew they were working on it, and that thought comforts Barb Howard, who on Thursday morning remembered her friend as a very friendly person who was involved in many of the activities at One Oak Place.

“She was loved by everybody; she would help anybody who needed help,” Howard said. Her generous demeanor explained why it was no trouble at all to collect money earlier this week when the idea emerged to plant a flower garden as a pick-me-up for Rose, who at the time was in the hospital with health issues, Howard added.

She said she and another resident of One Oak Place, Sue Palmer, took the money they collected and made a visit to a flower shop.

Rose Gunstenson, right, is seen in this photo with her husband, Woody, and their grandson, Sterling Haphey.


Palmer, a master gardener, picked out a blend of lovely blooms and guided Howard and several other ladies — Diane Rose, Gloria Bunn, Lindy Kilde, and Donna Monteith — in planting the flowers in an area outside the living center dedicated to plants.

Photos were taken of the process, which finished about noon on Wednesday. Howard said she was looking forward to showing the pictures to Rose when she got a call informing her that her friend died Wednesday afternoon from complications of her health issues.

Rose never got to see her flower garden or the sign proclaiming it as such that was made by Paul and Glenda Timmerman, but she knew her friends were working on it, Howard said, recalling how it all came to be.

Two women lean against a raised bed with a sign that reads "Rose's flower garden."

Barbara Howard, left, and Sue Palmer at what is now known as Rose’s Flower garden at One Oak Place in south Fargo.

Chris Flynn / The Forum

“She (Rose) said: ‘I have a garden plot, and I’m not going to be able to plant it. I wonder if I should give it to somebody,'” Howard said, recalling that she replied to Rose: “Well, you love flowers, don’t you?”

To which Rose replied, yes, she did.

“I said, ‘OK, we’ll make it Rose’s flower garden.’ And that’s where it started,” said Howard, who planned to play mahjong later Thursday with a group of ladies at One Oak Place.

All of whom, she said, shared a fondness for more than the game.

“Those ladies love Rose,” Howard said.

And Rose would have loved the garden, according to her stepdaughter, Kris Haphey, who said that before moving to One Oak Place, Rose lived for many years in a house in Moorhead, where she had beautiful plants and flowers all around the outside.

“She loved her rose bushes and took such good care of them,” Haphey said.