Elaine Brooks, 72, beloved wife, mother, and grandmother, passed away peacefully at home on November 28, 2018, with her husband by her side.
Elaine Cheryl Heaslet was born on June 19, 1946, in Long Beach, CA, to Clinton and Ella (Korander) Heaslet.
She was in the church choir and a straight-A student throughout her school years and graduated from Long Beach Jordan High School in 1964. She married her husband, Earl, on February 6, 1965, and they started their family with their first daughter, Lori, born in 1967. Their second daughter, Nicoll, was born in 1972 and the family then moved to Earl's birthplace, Vermillion, SD, in 1976. Elaine went to work at the City of Vermillion as the Administrative Assistant to the City Manager and continued to raise her family. She and Earl were members of the First United Methodist Church and loved singing in the church choir.
The family moved again in 1984 to Albuquerque, NM, and built the house of their dreams. Her signature color was red and she loved her family, grandchildren, friends, bible study group, Friday night dinners, Mickey Mouse, gardening, drawing with pastels and crafting. Her favorite holiday was Christmas and we all cherish the hand-made gifts she has made over the years. She, also, didn't hold back when it came to decorating for the Christmas holiday. There were huge snowflakes and many themed Christmas trees that will be remembered fondly. Some of the most memorable are the birdhouse tree, angel tree, candy bar tree and the Tonka truck toy tree.
Through her love for Christmas, she got involved and became very passionate about Operation Christmas Child, a Christian organization that helps underprivileged children around the world. Elaine would shop all year long looking for special items and toys to include in her shoe boxes. If you were out shopping with her, and you walked into Target or Wal-Mart, the first thing she wanted to look for were items for her shoe boxes. Each year she regularly packed nearly 100 shoe boxes for children of all ages.
Elaine's health changed drastically in November 2005 when she suffered an aortic aneurysm. She was hospitalized and required two surgeries to repair the damage. She rallied from this setback and continued to live her life fully until she went into AFib in February 2015. There were multiple hospital stays including the installation of a pacemaker and a Life Flight to University of Colorado - Denver hospital in June 2015. She, again, rallied from this and continued to live life to the fullest. Then in February 2018, she fell and broke her hip. This changed the trajectory of her condition and she was brought home under Hospice Care in March.
She is survived by her husband, Earl Brooks; daughters, Lori McGuire and Nicoll von Kalben; grandchildren, Michael Cawley, Megan Cawley, Ashley Lemelin; sons-in-law, Jim McGuire and Stephan von Kalben.
Friends and family may visit Friday, December 7, 2018 from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. at FRENCH - Wyoming. Services will be held Saturday, December 8, 2018, 11:00 a.m., also at FRENCH – Wyoming. Reception immediately following the Service at the Garduno's Restaurant Cottonwood location, 10031 Coors Blvd. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87114. Elaine’s personal request was for her friends and family to wear or bring something red with them to her service.
Elaine will be flown to Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, CA on Sunday, December 9 for burial. Services will be held Monday, December 10, 2018, 11:00 a.m., at the Rainbow Chapel at Rose Hills. For more information on the California services, please contact www.rosehills.com/en-us/about-us/rainbow-chapel.page.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the organization Elaine was very passionate about, Operation Christmas Child; https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/