Remembering Edward Cape (1920 - 2021)
Edward Cape, age 100, of West Hartford, CT, passed away peacefully at home on March 2, 2021. Edward was born on September 11, 1920, in Lancaster, Lancashire, England, the youngest of four sons of Richard and Martha Moore Cape. Edward served in the Royal Air Force during WWII, where his slim build made him highly suited to entering the small spaces required to service the aircraft of the era.
After the war, Edward participated in a national program to reforest portions of England that had been cleared for the war effort. During that time, he resided on the grounds of Highclere Castle, the setting for Downton Abbey. Edward had the opportunity to visit many years later, and recalled that he lived in an outbuilding on the grounds, and only got as far as the kitchen of the main house for meals.
Following a short stint in advertising, Edward trained to become a Landscape Architect. He joined a firm that gave him the opportunity to work in London on the 1951 Festival of Britain exhibition, and the firm was a Gold Medal winner at the 1951-52 Chelsea Flower Show.
Edward moved to the U.S. in 1953, and later became an American citizen. After spending time in Greenwich Village, Edward moved to West Hartford, where he met Ruth Parmelee, whom he married in 1954 at the Church of the Transfiguration in Greenwich Village. They sailed on the QEII to England for their honeymoon. Edward and Ruth were world travelers, enthusiastic theater, opera and concert patrons, and entertained family and friends from around the world at the unique "Japanese chalet" style home Edward designed and built in 1963.
A talented and widely respected landscape architect, Edward created innumerable landscape designs for commercial settings and private homes across New England and New York. He did business as Edward C. Cape and Associates, and Cape/Wilhelm Associates. Local projects included landscape designs for Beachland Park in West Hartford and Duncaster in Bloomfield. Although semi-retired at age 65, Edward continued his landscape design and consulting work for decades after that.
Edward was a member of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and served as president from 1980 to 1981. Edward joined the Rotary Club of West Hartford on August 1, 1975, served as Club President from 1986 to 1987, and was a multi-time Paul Harris Fellow. The friendships he made through the Rotary Club extended around the world.
Following Ruth's passing in 2003, Edward continued to attend the Metropolitan Opera as he and Ruth had for many years. During an intermission, Edward struck up a conversation with the lovely lady seated next to him. That chance meeting with Anne Pretzat led to the love and adventure-filled next chapter of Edward's life. Edward and Ann thoroughly enjoyed each other's companionship, and their travels ranged from the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, to international destinations.
Edward was a true gentleman, a talented artist, and an inspiration to his family and his friends. He is survived by two nieces, Penelope Cape Gaskill and Jennifer Cape Cox, both of England; many cousins including the Baker, Lecour and Tackus families; and by Anne Pretzat and her family.
Services will be private at Edward's request, and Edward's remains will rest at St. James's Church in West Hartford, in the memorial garden he designed. Memorial donations may be directed to St. James's Church, Goodspeed Musicals, Hartford Stage, or an organization benefiting animal welfare.