Ilene’s Garden

Ilene’s Memorial Garden is named in memory of Ilene Walker, who grew up in Victoria and spent her last years in the New Denver area. Ilene worked as an on-call care aide at the Pavilion, where she evidently quite enjoyed serving under long-time local resident Helen Wood. It was a great shock to family and friends when Ilene suddenly lost her life during a house fire in Hills in 1981 at the age of thirty-three. The tragic nature of her death deeply touched the staff at the Pavilion, who presented the idea of a memorial garden to the Hospital board, where board member John Herrmann was instrumental in moving the project forward.

Ilene’s mother, Helene Walker, continued to visit the New Denver area after her daughter’s death, and was also involved in the evolution of the garden. Ilene’s Memorial Garden was landscaped and planted in the early 1980s, with local log builder Jim Pownall trucking in the large rocks and local landscaper Ray Nikkel doing the design work and supervising volunteers. It became the first memorial garden of the New Denver Hospital/Pavilion complex, where it remained basically unchanged until its renewal in May 2014 .