Edmonds Waterfront Center honors Rose Cantwell by naming community room in her honor

Rose Cantwell at the Waterfront Center construction site last fall. (Photo by Daniel Johnson)

As we start the final mile of the marathon to construct the new Edmonds Waterfront Center, we want to stop and acknowledge one individual who has been instrumental in setting it all in motion many years ago. Rose Cantwell was an active member of the Edmonds Senior Center beginning in the 1990s. She loved participating in the senior center’s choir, the Sound Singers.

In the mid-’90s the organization went through a difficult patch, when some say “the Board of Directors lost touch with the membership.” As the mother of U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, Rose was not about to be steamrolled. Rose led the charge for a change in board leadership and ended up being elected board president and ensuring the voice of the members would always prevail.

When the organization decided that the Edmonds Senior Center building, with its sinking floors and failing plumbing, had to be replaced, Rose raised her hand offering to co-chair the capital campaign. The campaign ended up growing to $16.5 million, demonstrating her audacious drive to deliver. But it did not stop there. Rose did not want to just build a new senior center. She wanted to build a center for people of all ages, saying, “Our society has segmented our communities by age – young families here and our seniors there. We had it wrong. We need to bring the generations together.” Rose pledged to raise the money and deliver the new center as a gift from the seniors to the community.

A famous Rose quote, memorialized in our campaign video, is “I am going to roll up my sleeves and get to work on the capital campaign because it needs to be done!” That quote has been incorporated into the masthead of every board and committee agenda as our battle cry.

To honor Rose’s monolithic contribution to protecting the voice of the voiceless and delivering on the promise of the new Edmonds Waterfront Center, the community meeting room on the first floor will be named the Rose Cantwell Community Room.

— By Daniel Johnson, CEO
Edmonds Waterfront Center 

  1. BRAVO! This news story is wonderful and worthy of honoring Rose’s commitment to our community and the Edmonds Senior Center (dba Edmonds Waterfront Center). Her uncanny and silent strength for throughout the years is admirable.

    Rose was the voice of wisdom and
    caring, her leadership is priceless and so much needed in those early years of leadership chaos. She is tenacious in civility, caring, and recognizing the need for a new facility. for senior and intergenerational programs She foresaw a safe haven for all with excellent food, exceptional views, captivating programs, friendships, exercise, inclusiveness and attitude of gratitudes.

    She offered so much strength to meet by offering to be co-chair of capital campaign when we knew it had to be done. Then we were both ecstatic when Daniel Johnson and then Gary Haakenson joined the team.

    Thanks Daniel – this is a perfect example of recognizing a thoughtful and caring leader whose vision was realized throughout the years.

    Thank you Rose!

    Many happy days ahead in the Rose Cantwell Community Room!

  2. Thank you Rose Cantwell! The residents of Edmonds and surrounding communities salute you! The new Edmonds Senior Center will be a lasting memorial for your contributions to Edmonds.

  3. How appropriate to name the Community Room ‘Rose Cantwell Community Room’. ! She is a person who invariably places the good of the community before self and has worked tirelessly to translate a dream into a reality – one of the premier (if not THE premier) senior and community centers in the West. By making it intergenerational, the seniors, who are an integral part of Edmonds/South Snohomish County community, get an opportunity to interact with and share their experience and wisdom with the next generations.

    This is, indeed, a richly deserved honor for Mrs. Rose Cantwell.

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