In Memory of Elaine

Nancy, Jacqueline, Elaine (2000)

I’m lucky to have two big sisters who love me unconditionally and have always taken good care of me, who kept the family history, family photos, family reunions, family recipes, family secrets, and were generally keepers of all things contributing to the true meaning of “family.”  Thank goodness for them.

Jacqueline, Elaine (1952)
Elaine, Jacqueline (1952)




Aunt Florence, Elaine (1949)


Elaine was my big sis’ and a wonderful role model.  She assumed the role of being the eldest sister, after Erdene unfortunately passed away years ago.  When I was a little girl, I was so proud to report that my sister had an important job in the Air Force; and she brought me exotic dolls from all over the world in her travels.  Whenever she came home, she brought me Golden books each time, contributing to my becoming one voracious reader from an early age.   I cherish photos of us in the snow, and the zoo, and the Dairy Queen where I spilled melted ice cream all over my new dress.  I know I worried her and everyone else, when I rode my tricycle off the front porch and split my head open, then hid under the bed so I wouldn’t have to go to the doctor’s for stitches, and again, when I bounced off a brick wall and lost my front teeth.  Elaine told those stories over and over.   I was a bit of a tomboy but I also had my nose in a book, both.  It is who I am.   All my big sisters contributed to who I am, and have supported everything I’ve ever done.

"Chef Skip," Jacqueline, Elaine

She taught me a love of cooking & baking, and to follow Gourmet magazine even if I couldn’t always follow the recipes.  She even took me to cooking school with Chef Skip on my birthday.  We stirred up a fabulous wok dish, and lots of laughs along with it.  To this day, some of my favorite authors are food writers.

Elaine was such a big fan of my running.  She and Dave, and her best friend Pat made sure to be there when I was receiving an award at the 100th Boston Marathon anniversary.  In fact, she and Dave came to all my awards ceremonies and graduations, come to think of it.  My proud sisters and brothers-in-law were true blue loyal fans.  It means the world to me.

Elaine, Dave, Tom, Jacqueline (1996 Boston)

My friends remember Elaine too.  In fact, Elaine recently saw one of my old friends after what had been decades.  Elaine actually remembered back to our college days, when she had us over for dinner and Dave barbequed steaks for us. . . only to hear my friend announce, “oh, we’re vegetarians!” before I could kick him in the shin to hush him.

No wonder Elaine remembered that one!



Elaine hugs Jacqueline, (1996 Boston Award Ceremony)
Debbie, Elaine, cousin Dawn, cousin Janet, Jacqueline, Nancy

My best friend in life, Leal-Ann, remembered the times she and I were guinea pigs for the scientists over at UCSB, where they ran us on treadmills and tested everything imaginable about running including the “effects of high temperatures on performance in running.”  Basically, we ran on treadmills in one room after another, each one set at temperatures in various temperature settings, that reached as high as 110-degrees, while they tracked our core temperatures.  Core temperatures?  How, you wonder?  Don’t ask.  Dr. Drinkwater thought of everything.  And yes, that is her real name.  I could not make that stuff up.  My friend, Leal, remembered going over to Elaine & Dave’s when it was over.  She asked me the other day if Elaine was the one who raised rabbits.  She remembered a male rabbit named Samson, the only male rabbit in the bunch of females, who was always exhausted and slept a lot . . . . so we sent him a Father’s Day gift.   Leal has a great sense of humor.  Elaine did too.

One day I rescued a dog, it was love at first sight; and I named him Dipper.  I thought the perfect home for him would be Dave & Elaine’s.  They’d always had dogs around, and recently had lost their pair of dogs.  I presented them with, what was in my mind a perfect match — which they graciously accepted, but did let me know they weren’t looking for replacements, they were looking to getting their landscaping back!  The love between them has worked both ways all these years, and I think anyone who has met Dipper would agree.

I love Santa Barbara, I love Goleta, and I love Elaine and all her family.  I love morning walks around the lagoon and along the coast at West Campus, in UCSB.  And I will continue to do so whenever I have the chance.  I just love the drive up the coast.  But it will always be different now.  So I will reflect on what Elaine meant to me in my life, with much gratitude; for I have much to grateful for.  She was one-of-a-kind and she was my sister, and I will always cherish her.

Cousin Mary Lee & family with Elaine, Jacqueline, Nancy, Mom


Elaine and Dave


Elaine, Nancy, Jacqueline, Pat








9 Replies to “In Memory of Elaine”

  1. Aunt Elaine , Well She was The Very Best ( : I have so many stories to tell from when i was born until my kids were born and they got to spend time and grow up with Aunt Elaine but one of my favorite stories has to be when me and my Band had just returned from a short European tour and the only flight back to the states was a flight into Oakland Ca . We then headed back to L.A. via the coast and when we got to the Gaviota pass and one of my band mates wanted to stop and rest and grab a bite to eat so there i went and called Aunt Elaine to see if we could stop by for a short rest and get a chance for her and Uncle Dave to meet the band lol ! Well nerveless to say did she not only say come on over but she had said Uncle Dave was leaving for Boston and that we should stop and stay over for the night and get a good meal and some rest . So we get to the house and to my surprise she had already had the pizza guy stop by and also KFC and who knows what else . We stayed up for hours talking and then spent the night . Well between The Great Hospitality , The Beautiful view and the pool and the fridge outside in the backyard loaded with drinks on a hot summer day and the delicious food i couldn’t get the band to leave lol ! I think we stayed three or four days OMG ! Aunt Elaine was simply The Best ( : She never forgot a single Birthday , Anniversary etc etc . I Will miss her dearly , and even though we had drifted apart over the years because i moved to Northern California she was in my mind and Heart always and The memories will never end. Love you Aunt Elaine . . .Night Night ( :

  2. Wow, what a beautiful,honorable life memory. I do not know Elaine and have never met her but I do know her sister Nancy and if Elaine was anything like Nancy (which sounds very much so) I would have loved her instantly as I do Nancy. These sisters obviously loved people, took them in at a moments notice and served them. To me that is beautiful. I read a quote the other day. We are to love people and use things, not use people and love things. It is so obvious to me that that Elaine loved people.

  3. Aunt Elaine made everything MAGIC! The minute we would drive up her long driveway the magic began. She always welcomed me with open arms and a infectious smile and made me feel special as only she could do. Her home was always my favorite place in the whole wide world… all because of her! I have so many fond memories of my Aunt Elaine… Day trips to Solvang where we enjoyed buying books at the quaint bookstore while eating a danish or
    two… Taking me to my first tennis lessons while staying with her one summer… Frozen vegetables (I never acquired the taste for them but Aunt Elaine insisted we always had to take one bite)… Cooking together… Watching her do her morning crossword puzzles… Aunt Elaine never missed a birthday for me or my children… you could always count on a wonderful card and I especially liked the ones that had the slots for all the dimes she would send… Swimming countless hours in her pool… Tinker Toys (she had gobs and gobs)… Reading all her wonderful storybooks. As I grew older and joined the military myself it was Aunt Elaine who wrote me EVERY day in Boot Camp. I sometimes think it was her letters that got me through. Whenever I see a hummingbird I think of my Fantabulous Aunt! She was the original Auntie Mame… bigger than life! I regret not getting the chance to tell her that throughout my life as I got older and life got more hectic and I needed to escape or couldn’t fall asleep I would close my eyes and pretend I was driving up that driveway where everything was Magical! So Aunt Elaine… I know you are listening now… Thank you for making my life so extra special and for creating a loving, safe, magical haven that has given me so many wonderful memories to cherish and reflect on. You are a one-of-a-kind… I am forever grateful and you will be deeply missed~ I Love You~ Edie

  4. Aunt Elaine was a wonderful woman. I met her in 2006 when she invited me to come out (from PA) to stay with her and Dave. I stayed for 9 days but made memories that will last a laughtime. She was generous beyond anything I had ever seen before… We went shopping in Solvang, and I had to learn to keep my mouth shut… because if I admired something aloud, Elaine would grab and say “Do you want it?” I had to talk her out of several purchases. But she still spoiled me rotten. We went to Hearst Castle, the Botanical Gardens, the pier, and many other fun places. She was fun, loving, and spunky! She cracked me up. I feel her legacy is for all of us to live life and to do it abundantly. She showed love to all she met and showed such a servant’s heart. And she was so vivacious!!! I will miss her so much. Our ongoing joke was that she was the queen and I was her princess-in-training. We stayed in touch after my visit by phone calls and letters and I know I will miss not being able to hear her outgoing laugh and joking with her. She was truly like the old adage… sugar and spice and everything nice. Aunt Elaine, you will always be queen in my book. I love you and pray God is having you care for his orchids in heaven. Like your beautiful flowers… you nurtured me too. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  5. oops -sorry for the typo… I wrote memories that will last a laughtime… I meant lifetime… doesn’t it just go to show the joy she brought… 🙂

  6. Elaine was such as sweetheart. Although I never got tot meet her in person. We talked on the phone alot and she wrote us often and she was like Santa Claus at Christmas. We will miss her immensely. She would call and to catch up on life in PA. She would share stories of her life and listen to our stories and it was always hard to say good bye. Elaine will always have a very special place in our hearts. I had saved all of her letters and will read them again one day. We love you Elaine and will miss your sweet voice and your stories and how you always ended your calls with tell everybody I send my love and then she would always say and much love to you.Please keep in touch and may God be with us all as we let her go.
    Linda and Doug

    1. We are all better for having known Elaine. Comments here and at the funeral all include her unmatched hospitality and generosity. She had a way of making you feel like you were the most important person in her presence.
      April’s mis-speak about “laughtime” is quite appropriate. Elaine was more entertaining than “I Love Lucy.”
      Repeating the Thomas Campbell quotation on one of my sympathy cards:
      “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
      Let’s cherish her memories in our hearts, where she lives on. Love, Jacqueline

  7. So sorry to hear about the sudden death of your dear sister Elaine. We remember several meetings with her…a few times in Santa Barbara, and at your graduation several years ago. Her smile and sense of humor and gentle intelligence set her apart. Please know our thoughts and best wishes are sent your way to give you some solace and healing in this loss. Hugs, dear friend,
    Joyce and Pete

  8. Dear Jacqueline,
    I’m so sorry you lost your sister Elaine. She sounded like the kind of person we all hope to have in our lives from what you wrote about her. Thinking of you.

Comments are closed.