Brena “Rose” (Smiley-Gustafson) Rydeen
Brena “Rose” (Smiley-Gustafson) Rydeen passed away on September 14, 2016 due to cardiac arrest during heart surgery. She managed to keep her bad ticker at bay for the past 8 years, when she suffered her first massive heart attack — a story she enjoyed telling as it happened in the women’s restroom at Costco. Brena was born in Detroit, MI on January 24, 1951. Moving to Seattle at an early age, she grew up in Shoreline and attended Shoreline High School.
During a life well lived, Brena accompanied Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention on their European tour in the early 1970’s, sang in Seattle area bands, sewed costumes for Dr. John and Three Dog Night, worked on fishing boats in Alaska, traveled the world with her first husband Ben, owned Rose’s Chocolate Treasures in Post Alley, served on the Pike Place Market Historical Society, volunteered with Allied Arts, and settled down at last on Whidbey Island with her second husband “Beau” where they established the RyRose Ranch. She was preceded in death by her two beloved husbands, Thomas Benton Collins and Robert “Bob” Dolph Rydeen, and by her beloved grandmother Augusta (Gussie) Flaherty and Aunt Betty Jane Flaherty, who both raised her.
Brena is survived by her daughter Bethany (Simmons) Moore, son-in-law George Moore, and three granddaughters (whom she cherished) Samantha, age 15, Charlotte, age 13, and Vivian, age 5, all of Edmonds. She also leaves behind her Australian Shepherd Bella, Mr. Kitty, and her many friends who are grieving the loss of such a wonderful free spirit as was Brena.
Brena loved dancing to the blues and rock ‘n roll, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, providing Whidbey Islanders with the best tasting eggs from her flock of 100 happy RyRose ranch chickens at her farm stand market, and spending time with her beloved neighbors and friends on Welcome Road and beyond.
She was a writer, a poet, a lover, a friend, and never anyone’s fool. Right now Brena is surely bringing new people together in friendship and planning the next social event for everyone. To our dear Brena Rose: Laissez les bon temps rouler! Because we know you’re celebrating Mardi Gras somewhere.
A celebration of life will be held Sunday, October 23, 1-3 pm, at Comforts of Whidbey Winery, located at 5219 View Road, Langley, Washington. Bring a memory, favorite story, and a potluck dish to share.