On Wednesday January 8, 2020, our loving mother passed away from a respiratory illness. Elaine was born Dec. 21, 1924, in Braham, Minnesota, one of six children born to Otto and Hannah Swanson. She had many fond memories of snowy winters, ice skating, and greeting the milkman on his horse-drawn sleigh. She remembered going to the silent movies with her oldest sister, who accompanied on the piano, and laughing at the actors with their jerky movements.
When she was nine, her family decided to make a move out West after losing their family home to a fire.They packed up all their belongings in a trailer and headed out through snow country. Her brother rigged up a hand brake for the trailer outside the driver’s window to use on the hills. What an adventure! They ended up in Davenport, Washington, and later moved to Grangeville, Idaho, and finally Council, Idaho, where she graduated from high school. She was a fun-loving, hard working, athletic girl and loved playing on the girls basketball team and traveling to neighboring towns.
She graduated from high school during World War II, and she and a friend drove to Boise to attend a sheet metal school. When they finished school, they travelled by train to an air base in Walla Walla, Washington. It was in the Boise train depot that they met a group of young soldiers who had been sent to the same base. One of these young men, Charles (Chris) Christiansen, eventually became her husband. He was sent to England to fly bombing missions on B17’s. Elaine remained behind, working as a welder and riveter patching B17’s.
Her next move was to Tacoma, Washington, with her family, where she found work in the shipyards. After the war, Elaine and Chris decided to stay in Tacoma, where they raised four children on a small farm. She worked hard gardening, canning and sewing all of our clothes. She always referred to her years on the farm as the best years. She and Dad loved to spend time camping, fishing for salmon, and square dancing.
In 1976, Mom and Dad sold their property and moved into Tacoma because of Dad’s declining health. He later passed away at the young age of 64. Elaine worked at Fabricland for many years and enjoyed the companionship and support of her son, Brian. She lived in her Tacoma home for over 38 years before moving to Olympia to be near her youngest daughter, Lorrie. She lived in The Firs senior living apartments, made friends, and enjoyed many outings to parks, stores and casinos.
Elaine made her last move 2-½ years ago to Boise to be near her oldest daughter, Charlaine, who was able to help with her complex medical condition. She enjoyed her days living in Springcreek Assisted Living enjoying the many activities, especially bingo, musical entertainment, socials and outings. She loved taking a trip to the Boise train depot and sitting on the same bench where she met her husband 76 years earlier.
Elaine is survived by her daughter Charlaine Fisch (husband Rick, grandchildren Michael (wife Kelly), Scott and Angie (husband Scott), and great-grandchildren Savannah, Sienna, Reagan and Elijah); her daughter Lorrie Bauer (husband Leonard and grandsons Lucas and Dylan); and two sisters, Laverne Baker and Valoise Beaulaurier.
Elaine was predeceased by her parents, Otto and Hannah, her husband Chris, son Brian, and daughter Gail.
In lieu of flowers, please send a card with a favorite memory of Elaine to:
P.O. Box 15131
Tumwater, WA 98511