Elaine passed away on January 2, 2020, peacefully at home. She leaves behind her caring husband of 56 years, Alan, children Christine (nurse practitioner, Tacoma), Kathrine (teacher, California), and Alan and Myanna (nurse working in international development, teacher, living near Geneva, Switzerland), grandkids Thomas, Katherine, Thomas, John, Sean, Niko and Clara, three great-grandkids, and a large extended family. Elaine was predeceased by parents Alva and Enfrid, and brother Dan.
Elaine was born in San Francisco on November 23, 1940. She met her life-long husband and Tacoma native, Alan Brooks, in chemistry class at Pacific Lutheran University in 1959. She returned to Palo Alto to complete her nursing degree, with distinction, at Stanford. After their marriage in 1963, Elaine and Alan, a new dentist who graduated from UW, lived in Augsburg, Germany, for three years while he served in the US Army.
Elaine and Alan re-settled in Tacoma to raise their growing family, renovated a beach house on Vashon Island, and became members of First Lutheran Church. Her passions included singing, baking, sewing, progressive politics and nursing. Elaine’s nursing passion was working with families expecting or with new babies, in particular supporting breastfeeding mothers. As part of her nursing career, she was instrumental in establishing child-birth education in Tacoma and teaching standards for prenatal courses, advocating for fathers to be allowed to stay with their partners during labor & birth, something largely considered unacceptable in local hospitals before this time, and beginning the first “rooming-in” for mothers & newborns to stay in the same hospital room rather than using the nursery. She touched many families in Tacoma through her work leading prenatal education in support of family-centered birth at Tacoma General, and 14 years nannying 25 infants.
Elaine was from an immigrant family which came to San Francisco after the fire/earthquake of 1906 looking for work and to help rebuild. Her family went on as part of the local Lutheran community to support immigrants leaving the destruction of WWII and eventually Soviet-controlled countries such as Latvia. In Tacoma, she spent years supporting immigrants settling in the community arriving from Vietnam, Somalia & elsewhere.
Elaine will be inurned on Vashon Island. In lieu of flowers, she preferred donations to Global Health Ministries, Bridges to Development, YWCA, Planned Parenthood, Peace Community Center, and First Lutheran Church.
Wife, mother, Mormor, friend, teacher, advocate, nurse, nanny. All will be missed.