A Living Memory

1 decade 2 years 11 months ago Wednesday, June 06 2007 Jun 6, 2007 Wednesday, June 06, 2007 9:31:05 AM CDT June 06, 2007 in News

Brenda Martin helped unveil the garden that is now dedicated to her mother, Doris Chiles.

"She had two lives, her family and her work, and she put everything into it," Martin said.

Chiles worked at the Columbia Public Housing Office for almost 10 years. Now her garden is located there.

"Her office is in this building on the corner and everyday she'd walk through and pick weeds and this was her space," Martin said.

"I can imagine that anything Doris touched, you know, seemed to blossom," Chiles' co-worker James Heard said.

She spent almost forty years of her life helping others find public housing, spending time in St. Louis and Fulton before retiring in Columbia. Former co-workers say she made a lasting impression.

"A couple of the grants came after she passed away," another of Chiles' co-workers, Carrie Brown, said. "And one of them we were denied while she was here and six months later we have this joke that she's up there doing something 'cause they turn around and had to give them to us."

Family members say no matter what she did, she always gave her all.

"In fact on her grave, it says 'I always did my best,'" Martin said.

Chiles was the Columbia Housing Authority's Executive Director from 1996 to 2005. She passed away last year.

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