North Dakota native, long time Oregon teacher, resident and child advocate, Coralee Warner Fries, has passed away. Those who knew Coralee knew her as an incredibly passionate, humble, resilient and well-read Democrat who worked hard to generate and ensure equal opportunities for others, through others.
Coralee dedicated her career, leadership and volunteer efforts on: Ensuring the educational opportunities for all students to reach their full potential; empowering children though adequate resources; and making connections for families in need with the right community partnerships to thrive.
Coralee was born in Grafton, North Dakota, on Dec. 17, 1945 to Wallace and Cora Loken Warner.
Coralee graduated high school from Wahpeton, North Dakota, in 1963. She earned an Associate Degree in Pre-Education from North Dakota State School of Science in 1975. She graduated Cum Laude from Moorhead State University in 1977 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. She continued her education graduating with two Master’s Degrees from Western Oregon State University in 1980 (Education) and 1989 (Counseling) respectively.
Coralee married her love and best friend Charles (Chuck) Martin Fries in March of 1980. They shared a very extraordinary interest in meeting the needs of Klamath County children as well as a passion for the beautiful outdoors that Oregon provided. Chuck’s death preceded Coralee’s death when he passed away Aug. 29, 1992 while they were hiking Mt. McLoughlin, Oregon.
Coralee was passionate about helping others throughout her career and community involvement. Her career with Klamath Falls School District began as she worked as a Resource Education Teacher from 1977-1988. She then advocated and counseled students at Ponderosa Junior High School and Klamath Union High School from 1988 until her retirement in 2003. She would later return to Klamath Union on contract as counselor 2007 and 2008.
Coralee humbly served alongside other community members and dedicated her leadership and service to many important volunteer efforts throughout her life journey. The organizations she enjoyed serving included; both the North Dakota and Oregon Children’s Trust Fund; Oregon Department of Human Services Citizen Review Board and The Pelican Babies Teen Parent Center. She was one of the founding visionaries of Eagle Ridge Charter High School. Coralee’s national volunteerism included the National Red Cross during many natural disasters including Hurricane Katrina and she was a longstanding Hospice Volunteer in Klamath and Jackson County. In 2006 Coralee received the Klamath County Volunteer of the Year.
Coralee could often be seen heading off to adventure across the great outdoors, fly fishing, cross country skiing, visiting her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren or furthering her faith in God when she wasn’t volunteering.
A favorite note the family found that Coralee had written said “Enjoy each day as it is, and often stays, and admire the songs of the birds and the simplicity of a single blade of grass.”
A private celebration of life will be held in the spring in the serene beauty of the Wood River Valley near Klamath Falls, Oregon, a special place the family often enjoyed together. To honor Coralee’s wishes, no public ceremony will be held.
She is survived by two siblings and their spouses: Her brother Russ and Shir Warner, Tucson, Arizona; and her sister Colleen and Mike Donnelly of Salt Lake City, Utah. She is also survived by three children and their spouses: daughter Corlyn Caspers and Rod Kolkow of Eagle Point, Oregon; son James Caspers and Cory Pope of Hudson, Wisconsin; and son David Caspers of Scottsdale, Arizona. She was blessed with seven grandchildren: Megan, Laura, Samuel, Kennedy, Sophie, Jasper and Max (deceased). She was also blessed with eight great-grandchildren.
Coralee shared many thanks for the kind, tender, quality care she received from Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, Asante Hospice, her caregivers at Right at Home, and her dear family. In honor of Coralee’s dedication to the opportunities provided by education, donations can be made to the scholarship fund of Eagle Ridge High School, 677 South Seventh Street, Klamath Falls, OR, 97601.