Born in San Francisco, Elaine moved to Southern California with her family in the early 1920s, living briefly in Los Angeles, then in Vista. She proudly graduated from Vista High School in 1939. That same year, a young man came to have dinner with her family, and according to Elaine, she knew as soon as she looked at his bright-blue eyes that he was her love.
She married William Harold Smith on Nov. 18, 1939 and they settled in Ocean Beach, where they lived for most of their 55-year marriage. They welcomed their only child, Elizabeth Ann, in 1945.
Though she only had one daughter, Elaine tended to “adopt” others, and there are many men and women around the world who think of her as a surrogate mother or grandmother. She was an active member of Point Loma United Methodist Church for more than 40 years, and lovingly served her church family in many capacities, as she did the rest of her family, with equal parts kindness, generosity, wisdom and orneriness.
Elaine was an active contributor in the community. During World War II, she volunteered at Mercy Hospital as a nurse’s aide. She also led Girl Scout troops, volunteered for Loaves and Fishes and the Ocean Beach Kite Festival. She walked everywhere, often carrying a homemade dish with her to various events and meetings.
The birthday cakes she baked probably numbered into the thousands. Even into her eighties, she spoke of visiting her “elderly shut-ins.” She was well-known by everyone from bank tellers to meter readers for tipping with homemade cookies. Numerous babies have been warmed by her beautifully embroidered blankets and untold numbers of people have been comforted and nourished with the cups of tea, sandwiches, flowers or hugs that she offered at every opportunity. The world is a far better place for her having lived and she will be missed more than she would ever dream.
Elaine was preceded in death by her much-beloved husband, William Harold “Smitty” Smith and her sister, Wanda Mackey.
She is survived by sisters Betty Jane Lopez of Long Beach, Norma Auttonberry of Superior, Wis. and Ann Blackburn-McCarty (Harold McCarty) of Anaheim; beloved cousin Betty Georgette Bird; daughter Liz (Elizabeth) Krause (Tim Krause) of Coupeville, Wash.; granddaughters Dawna Nolan of Los Angeles and Kelly Bullington (Andy Bullington) of Oak Harbor, Wash.; grandson William Ruh of San Diego; Kathy Vinole (Frank Vinole) of Murrieta; and John Krause (Kirsten Krause) of Concord. She is also survived by her great grandchildren Jeremy Vinole, Quinnton “Twinkle-Eyes” Wallace, Emily Vinole, Carson Vinole, Coleman Krause and Scarlett Krause.
Services were held March 16 at Point Loma United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, Elaine requested donations be sent to Skagit Farm Supply, c/o Tim & Liz Krause, toward the cost of birdseed and deer food.