Better Know a Volunteer: Carole Johanesen

Carole Johanesen is a self-proclaimed “people person,” and when you talk to her, or listen to her tell about her schooling, jobs, and volunteering, you can see that’s true.

Carole Johanesen

Carole was born in Everett and graduated from Cascade High School. While working as a secretary for the U.S. Public Health Service, she went to college and majored in Speech Communications at UW. The degree included studying literature, public speaking, group decision-making, non-verbal communication techniques, and human psychology. After finishing college, Carole became a public health advisor, auditing hospitals, free care programs, and other medical facilities in the Northwest. When her job was relocated to Washington, D.C., she decided to take an early retirement and stay in the Seattle area.

Since her “retirement,” Carole has kept busy in a variety of jobs and volunteer activities that use her people skills. She’s currently a member of the event staff at CenturyLink Field, assisting and talking to fans, or sometimes consoling them during painful football games. Of her volunteering, she says, “I had decided that my volunteer work was either going to be something family-oriented or fun.” Her family-oriented activity is AMHA; for the fun volunteering, she was a Zoo Ambassador at the Woodland Park Zoo for five years, keeping watch for safety issues, answering guests’ questions, and using those people-person qualities.

So how did someone who only lived in Alderwood Manor for six months over 40 years ago get involved at AMHA? “I picked up an Edmonds Beacon on the street corner one time and it showed that there was going to be an Alderwood Manor exhibit at the Edmonds Museum. And I contacted the museum; they put me in touch with Marie Little, because I had a lot of photographs and things I thought may be of interest for the exhibit through my mother [Beate Gyldenfeldt], who grew up in Alderwood. That’s my connection.” Beate was born in Denmark, and her family, the Gyldenfeldts, immigrated first to Oregon in 1913-1914, then moved to Seattle. “And in 1921 they found … that they could buy property here in Alderwood and raise chickens. That appealed to my grandfather and so they came out here and purchased property and had their home built through one of those kits like from Montgomery Ward or Sears.” In fact, Puget Mill Co. used Carole’s grandparents, Edward and Jenny Gyldenfeldt, in what became a famous publicity photo demonstrating the productivity of the poultry business in Alderwood Manor (page 38 in the Alderwood Manor (Images of America) book, for those who want to see the famous picture).

Carole has used her “people person” personality at AMHA, too. She has been a host at the cottage, a member of the board of directors, worked at AMHA’s booth at the Edmonds Saturday Market for a number of years, and lined up speakers and presentations for our member meetings for 10 years. She says her favorite part of volunteering and doing all these jobs for AMHA is “the hunt. … I do like a challenge. … I thrive on that sort of thing.” She also says, “I get a satisfaction that I’m doing something important, something that will be saved for future generations. Something that I can share with my own family, and something that just makes me feel closer to my own family.”

Edward & Jenny Gyldenfeldt brick at Heritage Park Plaza

Edward & Jenny Gyldenfeldt brick at Heritage Park Plaza