Elaine was born April 6, 1926 in Omaha, NE to Dorothy and Robert Ellis . She lost her mother when she was only 12 but grew up in her grandmother’ home where she was raised by her grandmother and aunt and other young women who boarded there. She loved being around all of the activity and social lives where there was always clothes and jewelry to share. In her grandmother’s home she learned how to set a table, serve a meal graciously, and always wear the right shoes!
She attended Jackson School and Central High in Omaha. While working for Mutual Benefit (later Mutual of Omaha) as the librarian she met James Meyer who worked in the mail room. She still had some of the “office memo” notes they passed back and forth through the office mail. Jim left for the Marines in China and Japan for four years but they reconnected when he returned. They married March 16, 1951. They were married for 61 years.
In their early years of marriage they lived in Grand Island, NE and Idaho Springs, CO. For a year they ran Jim’s parent’s cabin camp, the “40 and 6” near there. While Jim worked nights at the television station in Denver, Elaine kept watch at the camp and packed a pistol…just in case.
In 1955 they moved to Grand Junction , CO where Elaine worked at the Pure Oil Co., and Jim at KREX Television. They loved Western Colorado and Elaine quickly became involved in Junior League of Women, Past Presidents Club, and at Messiah Lutheran Church.
Elaine and Jim had two children, Holly in 1960 and John in 1961.
With Grand Junction as home base, Jim’s career took the family to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Vietnam and England. Elaine loved the travel and experienced each new place to the fullest. She made friends immediately, loved entertaining and became involved in every opportunity. When asked recently if she ever felt nervous or unsafe living in Saigon in 1970, she said, “of course not, the people were lovely.” War..? What war..?
In 1975 they moved to Moscow, Id where Elaine worked at the Latah County Courthouse as a receptionist and then in the General Services office. Later she joined Jim at the University of Idaho working in the College of Forestry. As secretary in Forest Products, she worked closely with graduate students and became their “mom” as many of them were far from home. She has kept in touch with many of them over the years.
The same year Elaine retired, daughter Holly and family moved to the area and Elaine and Jim began their second careers as cheerleaders for their four grandchildren. They enjoyed every bit of it. One of her last big outings was to John’s Alley to watch her grandson Joe’s band.
In retirement Elaine was involved at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, the U of I Retirees Association, her Friday morning coffee group, Gritman Auxiliary, and Church Women United.
After Jim’s passing in 2012, Elaine moved to Good Samaritan Village in Moscow where she continued to spread her friendly and gracious nature with her neighbors and the staff there.
Preceding her in death were son John in 1993 and husband Jim in 2012.
She is survived by daughter Holly (Jerry) Hein of Pullman, WA and four grandchildren, Adam (Montana) Benjamin, Joseph and Anna Hein.
There will be a Memorial Service at 11:00 AM at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Moscow on Tuesday, August 4, 2015. A private committal service will be at the Moscow Cemetery prior.
Memorials can be sent to the Gritman Auxiliary 700 S. Main St. Moscow, ID 83843 or Boys Town, 200 Flanagan Blvd. Boys Town, NE. 68010.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Short’s Funeral Chapel, Moscow, and online condolences may be sent to www.shortsfuneralchapel.net