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Telegraph columnist Gilmore dead at 81

By: Roger Phelps The Telegraph
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Prominent local seniors advocate Ramona Gilmore is dead at age 81. Authorities suspect cause of death was a heart attack, according to Wayne Lowery, general manager of the the El Dorado Hills Community Services District. In recent years, she was an esteemed columnist for The Telegraph, writing her "Here's What I Think" piece under her nickname, Moni. Her journalism conveyed a sense of past, more stable times and values in America. This sense contrasted with Gilmore's intense activism toward molding the future into an ever-better place for seniors. Through a high profile earned in serving on and speaking regularly before a myriad of public-agency boards in el Dorado County, Gilmore was able to craft concrete opportunities for local senior residents to maintain accustomed lifestyles as they aged. "We wouldn't have this building without her," said Janet Kenneweg, recreation director at the CSD Senior Center. "It's the old Fire Department building at El Dorado Hills Boulevard and Lassen Lane. She got the county Department of Human Services involved, and after some negotiations, the county actually purchased it for a senior center. The CSD turned the fire-truck garage into a dining room. Moni started the whole process." "That city's not going to be the same without her," said Michelle Hunter, project manager for county human services. "She got the vehicle donated for the county's Meals on Wheels program to serve El Dorado Hills." "Moni wasn't afraid to get in a board's face about meeting senior needs," said Wayne Lowery "She was adamant about making sure people followed through. She never let her guard down." Gilmore wielded influence with the local Rotary Club chapter. "For example, she got the club to kick in $500 for an ice-cream social, and then members went over there and made banana splits for two hours," Lowery said. "She gave the club visibility. We liked that." Gilmore was a member of the California Senior Legislature, a body that suggests senior-serving bills to lawmakers. She was a member of the El Dorado County Commission on Aging from 1993 on, chairing the commission during 2000 and 2001. The Telegraph’s Roger Phelps can be reached at rogerp@goldcountrymedia.com, or post a comment at folsomtelegraph.com